Located in the plateau of Central Asia between
China and Russian Siberia, Mongolia covers an area of 1.566.600 sq. km, which
is roughly the size of Western Europe. Mongolia stretches about 2.400
kilometers from west to east and about 1.260 kilometers from north and south.
The total length of the country’s border is 8.158 kilometers.
The country in mountainous with and average altitude of 1.580 meters above sea
level, which makes Mongolia one of the highest countries in the world. The
lowest point, Huh Nuur Depression, is 560 meters above sea level and the
highest point is Huiten Mountain in the Mongolian Altai Range (4.374 m). The
capital Ulaanbaatar lies at 1.380 meters.
The geography of the country is characterized by great diversity. From north to
south, it can be divided into four areas: mountain-forest steppe, mountain
steppe and, in the extreme south, semi-desert and desert (latter being about
30% of the entire territory). In contrast to most visitors’ expectations, much
of the country’s territory is mountainous. The principal mountains are
concentrated in the west, with much of this region having elevations above
2.000 meters. The country’s highest peaks are permanently snow-capped land
covered with glaciers.
Mountains and dense forest predominate central and northern Mongolia. The
grasslands cover large areas of this region. Across the eastern part of the
country stretches the vast grasslands of the Central Asian steppe. The steppe
grades into the Gobi desert, which extends throughout southern Mongolia from
the east to the west of the country. The Gobi Desert is mostly gravely, but
also contains large areas of sand dunes in the drier areas of the Gobi near the
The country is dotted with hundreds of lakes, the largest being Uvs-Nuur (covering
an area of 3.350 sq.km), Huvsgul (2.620 sq.km), and Har Us-Nuur (1.852 sq. km).
Lake Huvsgul is also the largest fresh-water lake in Cnetral Asia. The Orkhon
(1.124 kilometers), the Kherlen (1.090 kilometers) and the Selenge (539
kilometers) are the largest rivers. (Detailed descriptions of geographic places
of the country are included in Travel Destinations section of this book)
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