Photo Of The Day: Mongolian Ger

photo of the day

This Photo of the Day, titled “Mongolian Ger,” comes from Gadling Flickr pool member Mark Fischer who captured the image with a Nikon D90.

Mark describes the photo as “A ger, sometimes called a yurt, sits on the Steppes near Mandalgovi, Mongolia.”

A ger or yert is a portable, bent wood-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by nomads in the Mongolian-Manchurian Steppes, which covers an area of 887,300 square kilometers. Mandalgovi is the capital of the Dundgovi Province of Mongolia on the border of the Gobi Desert.

Upload your best shots to the Gadling Group Pool on Flickr. Several times a week we choose our favorite images from the pool as a Photo of the Day.

[Photo Credit- Flickr user Mark Fischer]

12 Stunning Desert Landscapes Around The World

camels There are many beautiful landscapes to be seen all over the world. Sparkling oceans, lush flora, tall mountains, barren tundra and unique rock formations cover the Earth, giving contrast to its many destinations. One of the most interesting types of scenery to take in, however, is the desert.

While many automatically think of sandy, infertile, colorless areas of land, there are actually many vibrant and unique desert landscapes to be visited. Vast expanses of salt plains in Bolivia, curvaceous sand dunes in Jordan, enormous rock pinnacles in Australia and unworldly vegetation in Yemen make up some of the planet’s must-see deserts. For a more visual experience, check out the gallery below.

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[images via Big Stock]

New stretch of Great Wall of China found using Google Earth

Great Wall of China, Mongolia, Gobi Desert
A British researcher scanning through images from Google Earth has discovered a new section of the Great Wall of China.

Surprisingly, this part of the famous wall isn’t in China, but rather Mongolia. The Great Wall is actually comprised of several walls built in various centuries by several different rulers starting in the fifth century B.C., or perhaps earlier.

When Great Wall expert William Lindesay spotted what looked like a wall cutting across a remote part of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia’s southernmost region, he headed out with a team to follow along 60 miles of it. This photo, courtesy Alec East, shows the kind of terrain these modern-day adventurers had to deal with.

The wall varies in construction depending on the terrain and resources. In some parts it’s made of local volcanic basalt, while in others it’s a simple berm of sand and shrub cuttings. Lindesey believes this new portion of the wall is part of the so-called Wall of Genghis Khan, which, despite the name, is not considered a project by the famous conqueror but actually the Han Dynasty of China in 115 B.C.

Lindesay says this is the first time part of China’s defenses has been found outside of the modern boundaries of China. A journalist for the New York Times may have discovered a portion of the same wall in Russia in 2001.

Transmongolia – Part Four: Traversing the Steppe


Transmongolia: Part Four – Click above to watch video after the jump

*After an extended hiatus (we blame the whole getting lost in the desert thing) Transmongolia is back. Click here for our previous coverage of the 2011 Mongol Rally.

Other than a complete break down or having to wait days for a spare part to arrive, there are few things as disheartening on the Mongol Rally as driving in the completely wrong direction for hundreds of kilometers. After recovering from a near-disastrous rendezvous with the Chinese-Mongolia border, our humble ambulance regained its eventual path toward Ulaanbaatar.

With a scheduled welcome party arranged in Mongolia’s capital just a few days away, we hurried to get back on track as fast as possible; while gradually losing more members of our convoy with every deep pit and poorly spotted rock in the road.

The end was in sight, but the final sprint across the steppe would still test the endurance of our newly formed friendships and our overworked engine.


Transmongolia – Part Four: Traversing the Steppe

As we ventured out of the Gobi and into the Mongolian steppe, the landscape shifted to sloping grasslands and sizeable hills that seemed small in comparison to the Altai range that we had grown accustomed to.

The steppe signaled several things for our battered rally team: that our journey was nearing its end and that our contact with large towns became more and more frequent. We no longer were concerned with filling up our jerrycans with the maximum levels of fuel and stocking up on food, water, and other necessities at every establishment we crossed.

With the moderate temperatures of the steppe, and the knowledge that we had only a few more nights under the vivid stars of the Mongolian wilderness night sky, we slept out in the open – with only sleeping bags, neighing horses in the distance, and the constant wind whipping across the hills.

It was bittersweet to know that we’d be back in the familiar grasp of a rapidly modernizing city in just days – one that for me, would now be revisited with an entirely new perspective.

For more information about the Mongol Rally, including how to sign up for the 2012 rally or tips for entrants outside the EU, visit the Adventurist’s website – or view the Adventurists’ 2011 trailer here!

Transportation was made possible by the scholars & gentlemen at the Adventurists. No editorial content or opinions were guaranteed, and nor was anyone’s safety or hygiene.

Transmongolia – Part Three: the Road to China

Transmongolia: Part Three – Click above to watch video after the jump

As soon as dawn broke, I could hear rustling coming from the other tents scattered around the convoy of rally cars. Bitter cold winds whipping across the open desert prevented me from moving or making any attempt to unzip my sleeping bag, but we needed to get moving in order to cover as much ground as possible.

The night before had been an impromptu birthday celebration for a rallyer named Andrew; now 25 years old. We sat around a campfire, listening to iPod playlists blasting from one car’s deceivingly powerful sound system, sipping on flasks of Russian-made vodka to keep warm. Under the most vivid blanket of stars I’ve seen in my life, I couldn’t help but smile at the fact that I was getting to celebrate a stranger’s birthday with a group of new friends, hours away from any familiar form of civilization.

As we set off, I began to accept and adapt to my new environment for the next week; the ambulance’s olive colored walls, coated with dust that seemed to stream in from all directions, shuddering relentlessly – it was everything I had ever hoped my Mongol Rally experience would be.


Transmongolia – Part Three: the Road to China

Climbing into higher elevation, our convoy’s engines struggled to climb up long sections of mountain switchbacks and cross picturesque streams. Apart from a few lone nomads on horses and the occasional yurt far in the distance, the only evident signs of life were the goats and yaks that grazed the open landscape.

After hours of forward progress, we came upon our first Mongolian prayer flag; a bright blue piece of cloth in the center of a pile of rocks. The Buddhist practice calls upon travelers to circle the rocks three times and add a stone to the pile; ensuring safe travels and good spirits to accompany those who trek that path.

For us, it was a welcome excuse to get out of the car and move before settling in for another hour of being tossed around, so we vowed to stop at every flag we saw – little did we know that their frequency would dramatically increase as we moved closer to Ulaanbaatar.

Riding in the back, staring out the small side window, I suddenly heard a loud gasp from up front. ‘Well look what we found!!” was all I could hear over Olive’s wheels striking rocks and shifting from side to side. Then, out of nowhere – silence. No vibration. Just silky smooth, freshly paved, blacker-than-the-night-sky asphalt (or ashphelt if you’re Australian, apparently).

We couldn’t believe it, but we were too eager to. Driving at an unbelievable speed of 80 km/h, we forged ahead in any direction that the magic strip of tar would take us. That is, until we started realizing that our compass needle wasn’t pointed in exactly the right direction and that there was an alarming amount of construction equipment with Chinese lettering on it.

Stopping to seek advice from several locals that communicated mostly via gestures and pointing to our worn-out map, we confirmed that we were heading toward the Chinese town of Altai rather than our intended destination of Altai in Mongolia. Just a couple of hours and we would have been face to face with some imaginably unimpressed Chinese officials.

Not only would we have to retrace hundreds of miles, but we’d have to abandon the beautiful asphalt road and forge a new, unknown path to try and cut some time off our overzealous mistake.

With no other option, we forged ahead – hoping we’d calculated our direction correctly this time, venturing further into the middle of nowhere.

For more information about the Mongol Rally, including how to sign up for the 2012 rally or tips for entrants outside the EU, visit the Adventurist’s website – or view the Adventurists’ 2011 trailer here!

Transportation was made possible by the scholars & gentlemen at the Adventurists. No editorial content or opinions were guaranteed, and nor was anyone’s safety or hygiene.