In October 2014 I went to Mongolia together with my girlfriend and a few friends. The first 10 days we went to Hustai national park to spot the wild Przewalski horses, we visited the ancient Buddhist monastery in Karakorum and then we drove to the Gobi desert and explored the vast steppe plains, the beautiful sand dunes of Khongoryn Els, the red cliffs of Bayanzag, the Yolin Am canyon ... We saw many nomads with their gers and herds of horses, sheeps, goats and camels.
Then we flew to the Altai Mountains in the west. There we drove through beautiful remote landscapes with snowcapped mountains, rivers and lakes and we discovered prehistoric petroglyphs and we met the friendly Kazakh nomads with their horses and yaks.
The main goal of our journey was to see the old Kazakh tradition of hunting with trained golden eagles and trying to make great images of them. Today, approximately 250 Kazakh people still practice this ancient art. They are dependent from the season. In winter time they use their eagles to hunt rabbits, foxes and wolves which were essential for food and clothing in the past. But it is more, it's an art form in which the right balance between strength, agility and smoothness is required and where an intense bond between bird and its master is required. We attended the very exciting two-day Golden Eagle Festival where up to 70 eagle hunters gather and compete in several fascinating competitions. We also met some young people who help to keep their cultural heritage alive. Undoubtedly these days in the Altai mountains were the highlight of our journey.
The last days we made a hike through Terelj NP and Khan Khenti east of the capital Ulaanbaatar.
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