Gobi-Altai aimag, Govi-Altai aimag.
THE REGIONS OF MONGOLIA
- Territory - 54,595 sq. miles (141,400 sq. km)
- Center - Altai town, located 624 miles (1,005 km)
- Number of somons - 18
- Gobi-Altai aimag was established in 1940
Gobi-Altai aimag (Govi-Altai in mongolian) is situated in the western
part of Mongolia. On the South-West it borders with the People's Republic of
China. The Sutai, Azh Bogd, Tayan, Edren, Burkhan buudai majestic peaks of the
Mongol Altai mountains stretch from North to South through the territory of the
The highest among them is Sutai peak clad in eternal snow at 13,865 feet
(4,226 m) above sea level. Semi-deserts of Sharga, Dukhum, Zakhuu, Zarman,
Biger, Alagnuur, Tsengkher, and Nomin lie between these mountains. Almost all
species and soil have steppe features: Zakhui, Zarman, Nomin semi-deserts have
beautiful oasises with saksaul, ulmus, populus diversifolia, bulrush and reed.
There are around twenty small and big salt lakes, such as Tonkhil, Ikhes, Alag,
Shargiin Tsagaan, Biger.
second-largest aimag is named after the Gobi Desert and the Mongol Altai Nuruu
range, which virtually bisects the aimag to create a stark, rocky landscape.
There is a certain beauty in this combination, but there is considerable
heartbreak too. Gov-Altai is one of the least suitable areas for raising
livestock, and therefore one of the most hostile to human habitation. It is
hoped that an ambitious Kuwaiti-funded hydroelectric power project and dam on
the Zavkhan Gol (near Taishir) will bring an economic upturn to the region.
Somehow a few Gobi bears, wild camels, ibex and even snow leopards survive,
often protected in the several national parks in the aimag. Most of the
population live in the north-east corner, where melting snow from the Khangai
Nuur feeds small rivers, creating vital water supplies.
Gov-Altai is famous for its oasises, and contains some remote sections of
several national parks, but most travellers head further west to the more
beautiful and interesting aimags in western Mongolia.
Mountaineers and adventurous hikers with a lot of time on their hands might
want to bag an Altai peak. Opportunities include Khuren Tovon Uul (3802m), in
Altai sum, Burkhan Buuddai Uul (3765m) in Biger sum, or the permanently
snowcapped peak of Sutai Uul (4090m), the highest peak in Gov-Altai. Most
climbers approach Sutai hill from the Khovd side.
The beauty of Gov-Altai's diverse and sparsely populated mountain and desert
environment has led to the allocation of a large portion of the aimag as
- Alag Khairkhan Natural Reserve (36,400 hectares). Protects Altai
habitat, rare plants, snow leopard, argali and ibex.
- Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area. Divided into 'Gobi A', or
Southern Altai Gobi, and 'Gobi B'. or Dzungarian Gobi. 'Gobi A' is over 4.4
million hectares in the southern part of the aimag. 'Gobi B' is 881,000
hectares in the South-West of Gov-Altai and in neighbouring Khovd. Together,
the undisturbed area is the fourth largest biosphere reserve in the world
and protects wild ass, Gobi bears, the wild Bactrian camel and jerboa, among
other endangered animals.
- Eej Khairkhan Natural Reserve (22,475 hectares). About 150km
directly south of Altai, the reserve was created to protect the general
- Khasagt Khairkhan Strictly Protected Area (27.448 hectare). The
area protects endangered argali sheep and the Mongol Altai mountain
- Sharga Natural Reserve. Like the Mankhan Natural Reserve in Khovd
aimag, it helps to preserve highly endangered species of antelope.
- Takhiin Tal. On the border of the northern section of Dzungarian
National Park. Eight Takhi (the Mongolian wild horse) were reintroduced into
the wild here in 1996. Experts hope they will survive and flourish in this
remote area of the Gobi.
PLACES TO VISITED:
- Altai. Nestled between the mountains of Khasagt Khairkhan Uul (3579m) and Jargalant Uul (3070m), the aimag capital is a pleasant tree lined place, with friendly people. With an interesting museum and a well-stocked market, Altai is a good place to stop on the way to somewhere else - either to or from Khovd, or the national parks to the South.
Dashpeljeelen Khiid. This small, attractive monastery was built in 1990 and is home to 30 monks. Unlike most others, there was no previous structure on this site. On most days from 10
a.m. you can witness a ceremony. The monastery is a short walk north-west of the town square.
Gobi-Altay Aimag’s Local Museum preserves over 7500 displays including a
Bronze Horse, Buddha’s sculpture, and a Tiger handled silver seal and the
natural, honorary and history halls are available for everyone, whoever
interested in minerals, plants, animals, history, ethnography, archeological
findings, handicraft items, and agricultural accessories.
- Southern Altai Gobi Strictly Protected Area. The majority of this 4,4 million hectare
national park, also known as "Gobi A", lies in the south-east corner of
Gov-Altai. Established over 20 years ago, the area has been nominated as an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations.
The park is remote and very difficult to reach, which is bad news for visitors but
excellent news for the fragile flora and fauna. Almost completely uninhabited by humans, the park helps to protect about 50 Gobi bears and some wild camels, as well as the desert environment and scarce water sources for the animals.
There are a few mountains over 1200m, and several springs and oases, which only an experienced guide will find.
- Eej Khairkhan Uul. Near the base of the Eej Khairkhan Uul (2275m), just
North of 'Gobi A' National Park, you could camp at some delightful rock pools and explore the nearby caves. You will need a guide to show you around.
About 30 minutes walk west of the hut are some spectacular, ancient rock paintings of ibex, horsemen and archers.
The mountain is about 150km South of Altai, and is part of the Eej Khairkhan Natural Reserve.
- Historic and Memorial Spots
Ancient people’s remaining, sites, stone age blacksmith, mausoleum, monument painting, deer and human stone, rock painting and ancient cities ruins kept underground or on the ground of Mongolian territory has always revealing the very old histories.
Those historic memories have deeply reflected to Mongolians outlook, beliefs, philosophy, artistic thinking, imagination, religion, national handicraft, language, culture, tradition and custom.
35 historic and cultural immovable spots are spread through territory of 14 soums, Gobi-Altai
- Scientific and Experimental Center for Przewalskii Horse Habitat
This center is located in the Eastern or Altain Uvur Gobi region, Takhiin /wild horse’s/ field, Bugat soum, Gobi-Altai aimak, which is 1300 km far form Ulaanbaatar City.
Scientists divided the Eastern gobi into 3 regions, which are field deserted, real desert, and well dry desert, and consider to be inhabited 54 types, 226 species and 572 items of plants.
The B corpus of the GIDCG, which was established in 1991 and launched its activity in Przewalskii horse habitat in 1992, has been charge of scientific research, inspection, and protection in 1188,5 hectare land of Bugat and Tonkhil soum, Gobi-Altai aimak, and Altai, Uench soums, Khovd aimak.
34 species of mammals such as wild sheep, ibex, wild horse, wild bear, and snow leopard, and 61 species of two habitats and 43 species of reptiles are inhabited in the land of Altai Uvur Gobi.
In support of the Mongolian National Commission of Endangered Species Protection, International Przewalskii horse protection group, Deutsche citizen Christian Osvald’s foundation, and Swedish citizen Drote Stamp foundation, Przewalskii horse habitat is successfully carried out in Mongolia.
5 Przewalskii horses was brought in 1992 for the first time, and they were added for 8 times and today they have already been raised at 60.
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