Khuvsgul

The Lake Hövsgöl (Hövsgöl Nuur) is located in the northwest of Mongolia near the border to Russia, and 700 km from Ulaan Baatar. It is 1,645 m above sea level, 136 km long and 262 m deep. With 2,760 m2, it holds almost 70% of Mongolia's freshwater.

The lake is surrounded by several mountains ranges, coniferous Siberian Larch trees, Taiga and rich pastures. The highest mountain is Munku Sardyk (3,492 m), which has its peak north of the lake on the russian-mongolian border.

The lake area is a national park bigger than Yellowstone and strictly protected as a transition zone between Central Asian Steppe and Siberian Taiga. The name Hövsgöl is derived from the turkic words for "blue water lake", and is traditionaly considered sacred.


The surface of the lake freezes over completely in winter. The ice cover gets strong enough to carry heavy trucks . However, this shortcut to normal roads is now forbidden to prevent pollution the lake.
You can have more information on Hovsgol ecological state with this note: Activists Try to Keep Environmental Treasure Clean.
Hövsgöl aïmag is also the living place of the minority ethnic Dukha (Tsaatan in mongolian).

The Tsaatans are a Turkish people of reindeer herders. Only 44 families remain, totalling somewhere between 200 and 400 people.

They live in huts instead of gers and ride, breed, milk, and live off reindeer.
They possess a social and material culture which has remained unchanged  since the Ice Age. Shamanistic or totemic rituals and symbolism are central to their social organization.

As it is also my husband's birth and place of living, we were happy to settle our Mongolian ger in Hatgal, by the southern shore of the lake...