On the Trail of Genghis Khan: From Mongolia to Hungary on horseback PDF Print E-mail
Travel - Tips
Tuesday, 05 January 2010 22:47
On the fist Wednesday of the new year (tomorrow 5 January at 7PM) we have in Cafe Amsterdam the fourth and last episode of the documentary series "On the Trail of Genghis Khan" about Tim Cope's horseback journey from Mongolia to Hungary.
People who saw the first episodes in the cafe really enjoyed it, so come tomorrow to watch the last episode, which is also interesting and understandable when you haven't seen the first parts. 

About Tim Cope:

Australian Tim Cope is traveler, author and film-maker, who first came to Mongolia via Russia by bicycle in 2000. Since then he has developed friendship with Tseren and Rik from Cafe Amsterdam and Tseren Tours. Tim was part of a row boat journey along the Yenisey river from lake Baikal to the Arctic in 2001. In 2004 he started a 3-year 10.000km journey on horseback from Mongolia to Hungary. He was chosen the Australian Adventurer of the year 2006. This summer he visited Mongolia again and did with Tseren a trek in the west of Mongolia. In July Tim gave a lecture in CafeAmsterdam.

About the film:
Tim just finished making a documentary about his journey on horseback from Mongolia to Hungary. This documentary will be broadcast in a series of 4 parts of 45 minutes on the French/German network Arte and the German television channel ZDF next year. A few parts of the documentary he has shown already in Cafe Amsterdam during his lecture in July
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 January 2010 22:47
Guidebook "Mongolia – Nomad Empire of Blue Sky" Launch PDF Print E-mail
Travel - Tips
Tuesday, 15 December 2009 07:52

On December 17, 2009 at 7:00 PM in Cafe Amsterdam we would like to invite you to the Mongolia launch of “Mongolia – Nomad Empire of Blue Sky” written by Carl Robinson and produced jointly by the Mongolia National Tourism Organization, an NGO dedicated to marketing and promotion of Mongolia and Odyssey Publications. The book will be sold more than 7,000 copies in 23 countries around the world. The book is 536 pages containing 250 color photos and 14 maps.


The popular image of Mongolia is a vast and featureless landscape of grassy steppe and sandy deserts sprawled across the top of Asia between China and Russia. But the reality of this remote and landlocked country is much more diverse – and inviting. Mongolia also has soaring snow-capped mountains, forested ranges and bare outcrops plus hundreds of rivers and lakes, including one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes. Its rich animal life, both wild and domesticated, is totally absorbing. And its nomadic people are certainly among the most hospitable on earth.


Odyssey’s just-released Mongolia: Nomad Empire of Eternal Blue Sky(available 2/12/09) is a beautifully illustrated book providing a comprehensive and insightful guide to the diverse natural history and rich culture of this land of constant surprises.  But the 536-page publication is more than just a guide, but a mini-encyclopedia to this little-known nation that’s been fully-independent only since 1990.  Even those interested in simply knowing more about the land that once gave the world the Mongol Empire and Genghis Khan will be drawn into this magnificently-produced and highly-readable publication.


With a reporter’s eye and historian’s ear, veteran foreign correspondent Carl Robinson takes readers on a highly-descriptive, factual and sometimes quirkily personal journey around this vast nation of only 2.6 million people who are far outnumbered by their domesticated horses, goats, sheep, cattle and camels. Starting with the Trans-Mongolian Train journey in from Beijing, the book explores the capital Ulaanbaatar and then, fully-respecting Mongolian tradition, journeys clockwise around the entire country. Unlike others, this guide uses a more comprehensible approach that emphasis distinct geographic and historic regions instead of provinces. Most destinations are simply not on standard tour itineraries and will stimulate operators and tourists to discover new ones.


The book is the result of the author’s collaboration with many Mongolians from all walks of life that has nurtured itself into solid friendship. In recognition of this valuable friendship and despite below-freezing mid-winter temperatures, author Carl Robinson is taking the first copies of the book by train into Mongolia after its official launch at the China Club in Hong Kong on 9 December 2010. This guide to Mongolia is the latest from Odyssey Books & Guides ( which this year celebrates its 30th Anniversary as the publisher of high-quality and detailed guides, many to quite exotic destinations.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 December 2009 07:52
Margaret Mead Film Festival 24-26 September in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia PDF Print E-mail
Travel - Tips
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 18:04

mclub_festivalThe Margaret Mead International film and video festival in Ulaanbaatar (Ulan Bator) Mongolia will be held during the weekend of 24-26 September 2009  (Thursday, Friday, Saturday), at the Tengis movie theater and M-Club cinema. The entrance is FREE for the public. The movies will be followed by discussions with the audience.

The Festival is distinguished by its outstanding selection of titles, which tackle diverse and challenging subjects, representing a range of issues and perspectives relevant today to Mongolian society.

The festival is named after Margaret Mead (1901-1978) a respected and controversial  American cultural anthropologist.  Her first book Coming of Age in Samoa about the healthy attitude towards SEX in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures made her famous and influenced the western sexual revolution in the 1960s.

Three movies will represent the growing number of Mongolian movie makers: "Uncrowned" (50 min), "I am sorry" (15 min) and   "In search of Truth" (52 min). Other movies are from USA, Israel, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Cameroon, China, Great Britain and Tajikistan. Documentaries include those that touch on the world’s crucial issues such as national conflicts, population growth, child labor and domestic violence.

Download the festival program in Mongolian, in English WORD and English PDF.

See ToMongolia for complete details photos and some of the festival movie trailers.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 21:18
Mongolia: "the longest solo and unassisted walk in the world" PDF Print E-mail
Travel - Tips
Monday, 07 September 2009 22:50
Last Updated on Friday, 11 September 2009 16:04
Spectacular ceremony 13-15 August at Amarbayasgalant Monastery PDF Print E-mail
Travel - Tips
Friday, 31 July 2009 15:32

By: Dan and Otgo

"Gongoriin Bombani Hural" Ceremony

Amarbayasgalant_khiid_monastery_ceremony A spectacular ceremony named "Gongoriin Bombani Hural" will take place at Amarbayasgalant Khiid on August 13-14-15, 2009. Hundreds of worshipers and visitors are expected to attend. The monastery is located about 70km west of Darkhan in northern Mongolia. The unique costumes of the monks, the special rituals and above all the Tsam Dance make it one of the most elaborate ceremonies in Mongolian tradition.
Otgo  had the opportunity to interview the manager of the monastery.  Today 50 monks reside in the monastery.  The youngest monk is 11 years old and the oldest is 104. This old monk has lived through the modern history of Mongolia -  the Chinese rule in the 1900's , Russian rule in the 1920's, the socialist repression of Buddhism  in the 1930's and  today's democracy, which permits  free religious practices. The head of the monastery today is Luvsansonom (Olonbayar).

Tsgongor_tsam_maskam Dance

Otgo explains  that the highlight of the ceremony will be the Tsam Dance. The ritual Tsam dance is performed by skilled monks dressed in colorful costumes wearing  large expressive masks. The name "Gongoriin" in the ceremony name refers to the "Gongor" deity (God) also known as the "Tsagaan Makhgal".   Tsagaan in Mongolian is "white" because the mask representing Gongor is white. The equivalent Tibetan deity  is named "Mgon Dkar". The Gongor deity is one of the ten protector deities.  He is the distributor of wealth and eliminator of poverty.

The Tsam dance was performed at the monastery annually until 1937 when the monks were persecuted by the communist regime. The revival of the ceremony became possible as a result of the collapse of the communist regime in Mongolia in 1990.


The Monastery - Amarbayasgalant KhiidAmarbayasgalant_khiid_monastery
The magnificent  monastery, once one of the three largest Buddhist centers in Mongolia is located in the remote Ivon Gol Valley at the foot of the Burenkhan Mountains. It was built over a period of 10 years from 1726 to 1736. A few thousand resident monks served and studied at the monastery.

The monastery was built to honor the memory of Zanabazar one of the great Buddhist leaders of Mongolia. After he died his remains where brought to be buried in this monastery.

trek_Amarbayasgalant-1Undur Geghen Zanabazar (1635-1723) was a supreme spiritual teacher in Mongolia, and a world famous sculpture, painter, poet, and publisher. Zanabazar founded many temples and monasteries, spreading Buddha's teachings across Mongolia.

Among his many accomplishments, Zanabazar is probably best remembered for his bronze statues. During his lifetime, notes a modern-day art historian, he was the greatest Buddhist sculptor in Asia. His bronze statues are now the centerpieces of several museums in Ulaanbaatar. A school of Zanabazar has evolved in contemporary art, emulating Zanabazar's original sculptures.These "Zanabazar" sculptures have recently been sold in galleries in New York City, for several hundred thousand dollars. Zanabazar’s original works are undoubtedly “priceless.”

The legend of the Monastery name "Amarbayasgalant"
Don Corner tells about the origins of the name of the monastery: In his will Kangxi (Chinese Emperor) had bequeathed 3,860 kilograms of silver with instructions to his successor that it be used to construct a monastery to house Zanabazar’s remains. According to legend, he sent a team of researchers to Mongolia to seek out an appropriate location. In the valley of the Iven River, a tributary of the Orkhon, they found a little boy and girl playing together. When asked their names the boy said “Amar” (amar = happiness, peacefulness) and the girl “Bayasgalant” (bayasgalant = joy, pleasure, happiness). These meaningful names in this remote location made them decide to build the new monastery on this site and call it Amarbayasgalant. According to the legend, when Amar and Bayasgalant died they were buried in the front courtyard of the monastery.


Recent developments
The reconstruction of the monastery since 1990 has once again made it  one of the most popular monasteries in Mongolia. In 2004 the Canadian Gaden Relief Fund  contributed over 12 million Togrog for drilling a water well next to the monastery. After years of carrying  water from the nearby river,  the monastery and it's tourist Ger camp can enjoy fresh clean water.

Trek to the monastery
There is a very nice trek from the town of Darkhan, crossing the Orkhon river, through beautiful valleys to the monastery. A detailed description of the trek complete with maps can be found on ToMongolia.


Related article: Mongolian Gobi Treasure Hunt, August 1st 2009, Live Webcast - about unearthing the treasures of Danzanravjaa, hidden in the Gobi near the Kamariin Khiid monastery 70 years ago during the socialist purge.



Last Updated on Friday, 31 July 2009 20:10
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