A man without a horse is like a bird without wings.

The sound of a people in motion.

Mongolia is somewhere this project has to visit, the quintessential nomadic country.

Mongolian wisdom pays attention to the earth’s cycles and will make us see the green steppes surrounding the chaotic Ulan Bator in a new light.

Mongolia is the country with the lowest population density in the world, A country on horseback, the ultimate nomadic country.

Ulan Bator means «red hero»; a relic from its Soviet days. The city is an exaltation of concrete, but turns out to be quite pleasant. We see a clean, modern, urban city, a vision to break the clichés. The outskirts are a mass of gergs. The outskirts are where the families of those from the countryside live, having arrived in the city defeated by the dzud: an extremely cold winter.

But half of the population is still nomadic. We reach the heart of the steppe by jeep. An almost uninhabited, green, desert landscape. The plains and then the horizon. An overwhelming, cyclical landscape. The horizon and then the plains. Time and landscape here are cyclical. We meet the horse farmers. We play the txalaparta for them and then we leave.

 

Mongolia 

The Mongols live on the huge central steppes, in the south of the Gobi desert or in the boreal woods and the mountains in the north of Mongolia. They withstand one of the harshest climates in the world. In the winter, temperatures reach 50ºC below freezing and in the summer, the thermometer rises to 40ºC above. Nomadic farmers and hunters, their lives centre around sheep, horse and camel breeding.

Mongolia is a true example of man’s ability to adapt. It is a constant test of his ingenuity and intelligence. It is an unceasing struggle against a hostile environment, which leaves no room for error.

To speak of the Mongols is to speak of horse riders. There are an estimated eight million horses in Mongolia. although small, they are the toughest horses in the world. The Mongols are the archetype of nomadic warriors: born on horseback, untiring, cunning and, above, effective.

The Mongol nomads, always on the move with their herds, do not just wander. Nomads move in an exact, precise direction: towards other pastures, towards another well or spring. Their territory is not a void, but rather a detailed map which clearly shows the routes to follow each season of the year.