The "Burkhan Khaldun" sacred mountain.

© Alex Tumee/Shutterstock

Burkhan Khalduun


When faced with a crisis of faith or at a crossroads in his life, Chinggis Khaan would ascend the peak of Burkhan Khalduun (2350m). With his belt around his neck in a show of supplication, he would petition the gods of earth and sky for their wisdom, then descend to the steppe, secure in his decisions. As Chinggis was the father of his country, many Mongolians believe this mountain contains the energy and blessings that animate Mongolian nationhood.

Because of these connections, locals climb the mountain, topped with many ovoos (shamanistic collection of stones, wood or other offerings to the gods; GPS: N48° 45.430’, E109° 00.300’), to gain strength and good luck. Climbing it is forbidden to foreigners, who may only travel as far as the foot of the mountain; there are plans to create an observation route to make their visits worthwhile.