YOU CAN EDIT THIS PAGE! Just click any blue "Edit" link and start writing!
The snow-capped Kuiten Uul mountain,4374 m (14,201 ft), is the highest of the five peaks of Tavan Bogd Mountains (literally '5 Saints') that gives the park its name. It covers an area of 630,000 hectarce and is home to three large freshwater lakes and 34 glaciers, plus several waterfalls. The largest, Pontuninii Glacier, covers 23 sq km. Tavan Bogd Mountains are considered sacred to local Kazakhs, Tuvans, and Mongolians. The park stretches from Russia along the Chinese border, following the Altai Mountain Range that divides China, Russia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan, for over 200 km. Ancient tribes have left many artifacts, using the region for religious ceremonies. Today, tens of thousands of petroglyphs in the park are part of a [[UNESCO World Heritage List|World Heritage Site]]. In addition there are numerous Turkic Stone Men and stone burial mounds. [http://discover-bayanolgii.com/altai-tavan-bogd-national-park/ Official Tourism Website].
The Altai Mountains have been inhabited for around 12,000 years. The oldest images in the park are from 11,000 to 6,000 BC with hunting large mammals and ancient cultures. Thousands of years of petroglyphs show the transition from hunter-gatherer to pastoralism and later to the current semi-nomadic that developed over the last 3,000 to 4,000 years. Around 4,000 years ago, the use of horses and domestication of animals led to the rise of the Blue Turks (whose language is the root of Kazakh and Turkish). These successful warriors left upright carved stone statues known as Turkic Stone Men spread over the Altai Mountains.
Later in 700 BC, a group of horse-riding warrior nomads known as the Scythians starting from the Altai Mountains to conquer a region stretching to the Black Sea. They faded after being defeated by Alexander the Great in modern day Turkmenistan in 329BC, but not before leaving many stone burial mounds in the Altai. These mounds, or Khirigsuur, were designed to preserve bodies in frozen ground with horses, weapons, armor, and food for the afterlife.
The mountains and much of the surrounding region including the early Silk Road to the south fell under control of Turkic-Uighur Khannate (kingdom) after 600 AD until Genghis Khan conquered it along with most of Asia from 1260. The Uighurs and Turks were incorporated into the army of the Khan. After Genghis death, the empire was divided between his sons, with the Altai forming the border between the Golden Horde (Russia), Chagatai Khan (Central Asia), and Yuan Dynasty (China). The region changed hands several times due to infighting and dividing territories the Mongol Empire declined. The region fell under control of the Yuan Dynasty until they declined in 1370. The region was then ruled by independent Oirat Mongol tribes until conquered by the Qing Dynasty in 18th Century.
Altai Tavan Bogd has some of the most stunning scenery in all of Mongolia with towering white mountains, glaciers, deep lush valleys, and large lakes. The park is divided into 2 regions, the Tavan Bogd Mountains in the northwest and the Lakes Region to the southeast. The park stretches along the Chinese border from the Russian border to 200 km south following the Altai Mountains, which form the borders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. Glacial melt and annual snow fall supplies 3 large lakes inside the park that form the head waters of the Hovd River.
== Get in ==
Altai Tavan Bogd is 180 km from the provincial capital of [[Ölgii]]. You will have to start in the city unless you are going with a tour operator that gets the permits in advance. It will take 7 hour with stops (5 hours non-stop) due to the rough , non-existent roads, high mountain passes, and lack of bridges, though a very scenic drive. Most visitors to the park go as part of a tour group or with a guide, though plenty go without one.
*'''Blue Wolf Travel''' [http://bluewolftravel.com/altai-tavan-bogd-natpark/] provides transfers to the Tavan Bogd on Wednesdays and Sundays and from the park on Mondays and Fridays. The shuttle to Tsambagarav is on Wednesday and Saturday and from the park on Wednesday and Sunday.
*'''Kazakh Tour''' [http://www.kazakhtour.com/] has shuttles to the both sides of the park each Sunday, the Tavan Bogd Mountains Ranger Station and the bridge between Khoton and Khurgan Lakes (hiking or horse ride between these two places is a popular trek). The van is $214 divided by each passenger (up to 8). Shuttle begins on June 22nd.
There is not a lot of infrastructure in Mongolia in general, and Bayan-Ölgii especially. There are no paved roads or many places to stay or eat or even buy food outside of the provincial capital. The park is completely pristine, without even borders fences between Russia and China. Therefore most visitors use one of the several tour groups located in [[Ölgii]] for transportation, camping equipment, food, and guides. The largest companies offer unguided tour options to the main National Parks with only transportation and supplies, but no guide, cook, or other services. While other activities like mountain climbing, whitewater rafting, or going with an eagle hunter on a hunt will require a guide for most people.