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Prime Minister of Mongolia Welcomes CNN Viewers to Tour of His Country

Aired September 14, 2011 - 03:30   ET



SUKHBAATAR BATBOLD, PRIME MINISTER, MONGOLIA: This is one of the best part of the city in terms of nature. Ulaanbaatar City is surrounded by four big mountains. And one of the major areas, the mountain, is Mountain Bog. Bog means last emperor of Mongolia. And this mountain is named after him. And this is a really nice part of our city.

Welcome to my place, my city, my country.

Mongolia, originally, we are today the nomads. Nomads, we need very strong will tied with nature. And we protect our nature. We think that nature will give its blessing to people and to Mongols.

Traditionally people use to stay in a ger and a tent through the winter, on their own. And that culture has set Mongols and Mongolian families complete independence. This mentality has helped with Mongolians to survive and to be on our own.

Twenty years back from now, we had the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) system, where people were equal, opportunities were equal and actually the realities were equal. Then we had this new system of democracy and market economy. And we are exercising through, out of this transition, and we are finding- making-finding lots of achievements, good things, but we are learning lots of many lessons. And one of the lessons, what we are learning is, to some extent, unfair distribution of the wealth.

We need to address this issue so that people become competitive and educated in trades, to meet those demands and challenges.

O. BOLD, FASHION DESIGNER (translation onscreen): Today we are here at the National History Museum. One of the biggest museums in Mongolia. Follow me inside and let's have a look.

These are typical 18th -19th century clothes worn by the king and queen. There are about 20 different ethnic groups in Mongolia. You can see their traditional costumes here. The clothes were made to suit their nomadic lifestyle. For instance, the end of the sleeves can be used as gloves. The lining is always in blue, representing the sky. It's part of Mongolian mythology that we originated from the skies.

Artifacts from the time of Genghis Khan, the 13th-14th century, are very rare. Genghis Khan is revered almost like a god in Mongolia. "Time" magazine named him its "Person of the Millennium". He has come to almost define our nation on his own.

Only these two pieces have ever been found from the Genghis Khan period. They are still in pretty good condition. The clothes we saw before, from the 18th-19th century were made during a time of peace. But these clothes, from the 13th century, seem like they were made for battle. If you compare the sleeves, you see it doesn't have the same wide cuffs. It's tighter around the forearm, which is more suitable for archery. No sewing machine could make a piece like this today. Considering it is hand- made, the design is outstanding.

This is my favorite display because it's from the golden age of Mongolian history. It makes me feel so proud.


MUNKHBAATAR, GANDAN MONASTERY: This is actually the largest temple in Mongolia and it's name is Gandan Deshuling (ph) Monastery, the center of all Mongolian Buddhists. Our monastery was established in the 2nd century, but it moved several times. Later it moved here on this bare foundation of the capital city of Mongolia.

In the 1930s many, many (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Russian (UNINTELLIGIBLE) entered (ph) Mongolia and they needed some accommodations. So they decided to use our temples as a storage houses. So, interestingly, you know, in this temple on Russian general, together with his family was living (sic). That is why this temple wasn't destructed.

In 1905, his Holiness the 14th Dali Lama came to Mongolia. And he lived in Mongolia around one year. And at that time he was living in this, in the second story of this small building. And this is a favorite building for his holiness the 14th Dali Lama.

I would like to take you the Chang Rustic Temple, which the most significant produced statue in Mongolian Buddhism.

It was originally built in 1911, in a connection with the declaration of Mongolian independence. Before 1911 Mongolia was under Manchurian occupation for over 200 years. So, we say that Mongolia now can see through our own eyes. This is the meaning of establishing this statue.


They do this chanting from morning, 9:00 a.m., to 11:00 p.m., every day. This monk is doing prostration, Buddhist prostration. And we call physical prostration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long will he do this?

MUNKHBAATAR: This is-it depends on his motivation. How long he will like to do it.


MUNKHBAATAR: Very rapid change in our city, since 1990. So many new constructions. People have different ideas, different (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But on the other side, in some way, our traditions are being lost or being damaged, because of this globalization. Mongolia can survive by preserving its traditions, customs. Without our culture, without our religion, tradition, it cannot survive.


D. TAMIRAA, TOUR GUIDE: Now we are locating in the south part of UB (ph), which is black market. Here you can see all the goods necessary for not only city peoples, but also countryside people.

I can bet you all Mongolian people came here once in their life, at least once.

TAMIRAA (on screen translation): How much?


TAMIRAA: $30, they say that these feet are very good.

(On screen translation): Are you guys from Sukhbaatar Province?

Yes, he's from-the eastern part of Mongolia, from Sukhbaatar Province. Mongolia is divided into 21 provinces and one of them is Sukhbaatar Province, which is located a little bit east of Mongolia.

TAMIRAA (on screen translation): Can I go this way?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (on screen translation): Yes, go straight.

TAMIRRA (on screen translation): Through here? Thank you.

Those are Mongolian traditional costumes not only countryside people, but also city people wear these, too. Especially during the traditional rituals (ph)

(On screen translation): Ah, you're from Durid-Govi Province? I heard you guys are celebrating your province anniversary.

She is from Durid-Govi Province. And this year this province has 80 years anniversary. And she is preparing the ceremony, preparing the celebration.

Here now you can see from here 70, 80 years history. Yes, it is not only the black market, it is a whole history book.


ERDENEBAT BAATAR, ALTAN URAG (on screen translation): The name of our band is Altan Urag. It means the golden generation descended from Genghis Khan.

For Mongolians, Genghis Khan is both a symbol of inspiration and a source of national pride. I would describe our music as a combination of traditional Mongolian folk music blended with contemporary rock.

GANA GANTEMUR DAMBA, FIXER/TRANSLATOR: We are in one of the biggest, hottest centers for Ulaanbaatar. And this is the very memorable monument of the Beatles. In 1960, mid, that is the exact time of the Communist and Socialist time in Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar was fully developed the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to the Communist Party, but young generation Mongolian people originally come from the nomadic way of feeling, and they wan to also sing the song of the Beatles songs, and they want to be part of the worldwide, young people.

N. GANKHYAG, SINGER: The Beatles were really our teachers. Not only in terms of music, but also they brought this sense of freedom. They brought this smell of another life. We usually gathered at the entrances of our houses. And because there was good acoustics. So we played guitars and tried to play some Beatles songs.

Today it is actually the city which never sleeps. You can feel the heartbeat at the city at the Sukhbaatar Square 24 hours. And some places like night clubs, discos, where the young generation like to gather.


V. UYANGAA, SINGER: Mongolians are very hard working people. They like to spend lots of time working, working during the week, going out to the countryside is sort of like a relief, a get away from all the hustle and bustle in the city.

This area is called Tuo (ph) Imak, imak (ph), basically, it means province, in English. So it is Tou Province, Central Province. And we're about to go inside one of the families that we have come across today. The traditional Mongolian home is called a ger. A standard Mongolian ger is built within like 20 to 30 minutes, so it doesn't take long time. That is why it is also part of our nomadic culture, nomadic lifestyle, where our home and housing, everything is ready to go, ready to come, and ready to be built. And so I think we should take a look inside and meet the family.

(Onscreen translation): Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (onscreen translation): Have you forgotten how Mongolians treat guests in their home?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I have not forgotten. I just don't think you are important.


Aren't you a bit player in this story?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, you're right! I'm not that important.

UYANGAA: It is a Mongolian tradition to always present either Mongolian tea, or mare's milk, or milk or something to our guests. So this is mare's milk. It has a very, soury, bitter kind of taste, but it is very good for the health.

Really good. Fresh mare's milk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Living with nature is kind of the natural way of living for especially nomads and Mongolian people. The only reason why we have to be, to go to cities, education and medical services.

UYANGAA: Not just Mongolians, but a lot of people who live in big cities feel the same way. They feel very uptight and with all this business and all the work loads. And then when you go out into the countryside in Mongolia, you feel, you know, just looking at the planes and nice grasslands, and the mountains, and it feels very relieving.

The kind of information that people receive about the country, and about Mongolia, is either you are city person or you are a nomad. But being Mongolian, being a Mongolian person, is both. It is like one whole- my main, I'd say, duty, would be to develop the country along with globalization. But with one catch, which would be not to loose our cultural heritage, our nomadic lifestyle, our culture, thousands of years of history. We are supposed to, as any citizen of any country, we our duty is to bring that along with us, up that stepping stone.