Located in the landlocked plateau of Central Asia between China and Russian Siberia, Mongolia covers an area of 1,566,500 sq. km. Mongolia stretches about 2,400 kilometers from west to east and about 1,260 kilometers from north to south. The total length of the country's borders is 8,158 km. 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 (the latter being about 30% of the entire territory).
The country is mountainous with an average altitude of 1,580 meters above sea level. The principal mountains are concentrated in the west, with much of this region having elevations above 2,000 meters and the country's highest peaks permanently snow-capped land covered with glaciers. The lowest point is Huhk lake, 560 meters above sea level, and the highest point is Huiten peak in the Mongolian Altai mountain range (4,374 m). The capital of Ulaanbaatar lies at 1,350 meters.
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 Khar Us-Nuur (1,852 sq. km). The Orkhon (1,124 kilometers), the Kherlen (1090 kilometers) and the Selenge (539 kilometers) are the largest rivers. Mountains and dense forests pre-dominate central and northern Mongolia and grasslands cover large areas of this region. Across the eastern part of the country stretches the vast grasslands of the Asian steppe. The steppe gradually fades into the Gobi desert, which extends throughout southern Mongolia from the east to west. The Gobi is mostly rocky dirt and silt dotted with gravel, but also contains sand dunes in the drier areas near the southern border.
Gorkhi Terelj tourist camp is 50 km from Ulaanbaatar with many interesting sights to see along the way from Ulaanbaatar. The area possesses a rich array of wildlife and flowers. Home of numerous forested mountains, dazzling natural rock formations, crystal-clear mountain streams, and a plethora of native wildflowers, Gorkhi Terelj Park is a natural wild museum just a short trip from the city of Ulaanbaatar.
Khustain Nuruu Nature Reserve is about 100 km from Ulaanbaatar . The Khustain Nuruu Nature Reserve was establ ishe d in 1993 to preserve Mongolia 's wild Takhi horses and the steppe habitat essential to their livelihoods. In the early 1990's, environmental groups began advocating the protection of Takhi horses, allowing many of these animals to be reintroduced into the special protected areas. Now over 100 Takhi horses inhabit this reserve. The stunning beauty of this park not only embraces wildlife in its natural habitat but also contains a number of monuments from the Bronze Age, giving this people who visit this region enjoyment both in flora and fauna, as well as cultural history.
680 km out of Ulaanbaatar stands Khorog - an extinct volcano covered with basalt lying by the lake of Terkhin Tsaagan Nuur in Arhangai aimag. Next to the volcano one can visit attractions such as shar nohoin am (yellow dogs hole), musun agui (the ice grotto), Zaluuchuudiin agui (youth's grotto), 13 stone gers rock, Chandman mountain island (by driedger). The fresh water lake of Terkhin Tsaagan Nuur sustains many kinds of fish, including enormous lake pike. Khorgiin togoo, the volcano, lies at an altitude of 2210 meters above sea level. The crater is 180-200 meters wide and 7 meters deep.
At 1220 Chinggis Khan has decided to build the capital city of his vast Mongol Empire near River Orkhon. Building was completed by his son, Ogodei Khan, after Chinggis Khan's death Karakorurn was not only the capital city of Mongolian Empire but also it was the largest center of history, culture and trade. Kublai Khan moved It to Khanbalik (Beijng). After the collapse of Yuan Dynasty, Mins seized Karakorum and destroyed it. The symbolic ruins of Karakorum, monumental walls (400 meters of length) with 108 stupas, are surrounding the first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia, Erdene Dzuu, which was built in 1586. Since 1990 it became an active monastery again.