Hovsgol Nuur National Park
Nicknamed as the “Blue Pearl”, the Lake Hovsgol is the second largest lake in Mongolia as well as the deepest. Located in the northernmost province at an altitude of 1645 m above sea level, this lake is 136 km long, 36 km wide, 262 meters deep and is the world’s fourteenth-largest source of fresh water – containing 2% of the world’s reserves. Amazing 90 rivers and streams flow into the lake, but only a single river flows out - the Egiin Gol, which ultimately reaches the Lake Baikal in Siberia.
The lake is full of fish, such as Siberian grayling, lenok and sturgeon, and the area is home to brown bear, musk deer, ibex, argali – mountain sheep, marten, beavers, elk, lynx and wolves, as well as over 200 species of birds including Baikal teal, black stork, bar-headed goose and Altai snowcock, thus facilitating marvelous opportunities for bird watching. High mountains, thick pine forests and lush meadows with grazing yaks and horses make the lake more gorgeous and attractive.
A ferryboat operates between Khatgal and Khanh, two towns on the southern and northern shores of the lake that is within the boundaries of the Khovsgol National Park. The area hosts different ethnic groups like Khalh, Darkhad, Buryat and the reindeer breeding Tsaatans.
Plenty of interesting activities available in the Hovsgol Nuur National Park for your choice including hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing, swimming, bird watching, visiting reindeer breeders, discovering the surrounding forest, boating, etc.
Across the windswept steppes of northern Mongolia, stone monuments stand in silent tribute to a mysterious past. The ornately embellished monuments, erected by unknown peoples, lie scattered across northern Mongolia. At Ushghiin Uver, an archaeological site in a broad, short-grass valley rimmed by the mountains of north-central Mongolia, squared-off gray granite pillars rise about 3 meters out of the sandy soil of the steppe. These stones are believed to date from the Bronze Era of Mongolia (2,500-3,000 years ago) and derive their name from the etched ancient images of deer-like creatures which were etched on them.
The pillars known as deer stones, can be divided into three sections representing the three worlds of ancient Central Asian mythology: the sky, earth and the underworld. The top part of the stone shows the sun and the moon, representing the sky; the center shows a deer or other hoofed animal representing the world of the living whereas the bottom part shows bows and arrows, swords and sometimes deities representing the underworld. The deer, which is usually represented in silhouette with a long snout is an important symbol for Mongolians, and is believed to be able to carry the spirit of the dead to the next life.
The deer stones are the earliest examples of monumental sculpture known, not only in Mongolia, but in Central Asia in general. Considered by some to be the only genuine monument produced by nomadic art, deer stones are generally made from grey granite or marble and measure between two and five meters in height. Related to the religion of Shamanism, they are thought to mark the graves of important kings or warriors and are often located in groups of five or more. Altogether around 550 deer stones have been found in Mongolia and around 200 in the Eurasian countries surrounding it.
Located in the picturesque Iven River valley on the foot of Mt. Burenkhan in Baruunburen Soum of Selenge province, the Amarbayasgalant Monastery is one of the most beautiful and largest monasteries in Mongolia. It was originally built at the magnificently styled place in 1737 by the Manchurian King Kansu for Buddha teaching and practice in honor of the great Mongolian Buddhist and sculptor Under Geghen Zanabazar.
A fearsome communist purges against religion did not go around the Amarbayasgalant Monastery. Ten of the 37 temples and few statues were destroyed late 1930s like many other monasteries in Mongolia. All the highly trained knowledgeable monks were executed and a huge number of rare religious relics, books, sutras, tankas and Buddha statues collected for 200 years were destroyed completely. The holy temple of Amarbayasgalant became mere ruins and was abandoned for 50 shady years.
1990 was the time when the circumstances came for Amarbayasgalant to be restored. Communism had fallen apart and the Mongolians were eager to revive their religious tradition and the Amarbayasgalant Monastery was reestablished. Nowadays it stands strong on its remarkable construction, as on its 300 year history.
The beauty, decorations and construction of the monastery have made it one of the most magnificent architectural monuments not only in Mongolia, but in the whole Asia.