How is modern Mongolia

Mongolia - between yurt and megacity

Almost everyone who travels to Mongolia arrives in Ulaanbaatar. The film team immerses itself in the hectic life of the capital, in which old Mongolian traditions collide with modern city dwellers.

Mediator between the spirit world and modern life

Tsogbajr and his wife Zolzaja are in their early 30s, have two children and seem to lead a completely normal modern city life. Tsogbajr works as a salesman in an auto accessories store. But besides his normal job, he has a special calling: Tsogbajr is a shaman. A few years ago he discovered his ability to contact his ancestors. Since then he has seen himself as a mediator between the traditional spirit world and modern life.

Offerings to ovoos

Then it goes out into the endless expanse of the Mongolian steppe. The first Ovoo stops. Ovoos are piles of stones that serve as lucky charms for travelers. You can usually recognize them from a distance, because they are decorated with blue ribbons that flutter in the wind. They are the residences of the local gods or spirits. And they should be honored better: You circle the Ovoo three times and leave a small offering, for example money, candy or gnawed bones.

Visit to a yurt camp

This is followed by a visit to a yurt camp run by a nomad cooperative. There is the only nomad library in the country, housed in a yurt, the typical nomad tent. In the countryside, nomads still live almost as traditionally as they have for centuries. They don't have to do without cell phones and satellite TV, but as always they move with their flocks of goats and sheep in the rhythm of the seasons from summer to winter camp and back again. But the temptation of the cities is great, which is why more and more nomads are opting for a modern and supposedly better life in permanent houses.

The old royal city of Karakoram

The next stop is the old royal city of Karakoram. A visit to Erdene Zuu, the most important monastery complex in Mongolia, is on the agenda. The Soviets destroyed almost all Buddhist shrines in Mongolia, but Erdene Zuu was rebuilt in the 1990s. And now the head lama of the monastery ensures that people learn and live according to the old Buddhist rules again.

Animals in front of the Singing Sand Dune in the Gobi Desert.
A fabulous place

In the Gobi desert, the film team meets the dinosaur researcher Tumendelger Khumbaa. In the 1920s, dinosaur eggs were found in Shar Tsav, a huge, glowing red clay rock formation, which was a sensation at the time. To this day it is a fabulous place where you can immerse yourself in the world of the dinosaurs. When it rains in the Gobi, bones that are millions of years old are often washed free. However, it rarely rains there.

Galsan Tschinag - head of the Tuva tribe

Galsan Tschinag is probably the most famous Mongol in Germany after Genghis Khan. Galsan Tschinag is the head of the Tuva tribe in the Altai Mountains and studied in Jena at the time of Soviet oppression. He learned German so well that he even wrote his poetic books about life in Mongolia in German. In addition to literature, Galsan Tschinag has another passion: He has set his mind on planting a million trees in Mongolia. Because in the past decades the mighty have ruthlessly cut down the forest and exported it profitably. The film team visits the poet in his greenhouse in Ulaanbaatar.