The Herding Life in Mongolia

 
 
Mongolian herders have maintained a nomadic lifestyle for millennia, long predating the rise of Chinggis Khan in the 12th and 13th centuries. Today, roughly one third of Mongolia’s population lead pastoral livelihoods, though many families are moving closer to urban areas to take advantage of greater access to markets.
On July 1-3, Peter Bittner of The Diplomat traveled to Bornoor and Bayanchandmani sums, or administrative districts, roughly 100 kilometers outside of Ulaanbaatar. Below are glimpses of the daily lives of the herders he met with. (Due to the conditions of his travel, the subjects in the photos cannot be identified.)
The Herding Life in Mongolia
A herding camp as seen from the road to Ulaanbaatar includes a traditional "ger," mobile pen, and hitching line for horses.
Image Credit: Peter Bittner
The Herding Life in Mongolia
A herder answers his cellphone as his granddaughter eats a traditional "boortseg," or biscuit.
Image Credit: Peter Bittner
The Herding Life in Mongolia
Mongolian "gers," or yurts, are often elaborately painted and decorated.
Image Credit: Peter Bittner
The Herding Life in Mongolia
A young boy looks into the camera as curd dribbles down his chin.
Image Credit: Peter Bittner
The Herding Life in Mongolia
"Khuushuur," a fried meat-filled pocket, is a very popular national cuisine in the summertime.
Image Credit: Peter Bittner
The Herding Life in Mongolia
A toddler is tied to a dresser by a horse-hair rope while her mother does housework.
Image Credit: Peter Bittner
The Herding Life in Mongolia
Hard, dried curds, "aaruul," and their softer yogurt counterparts, "aarts" are served to visitors in a beaded bowl.
Image Credit: Peter Bittner
The Herding Life in Mongolia
A boy removes a saddle as a father helps groom his horse following a pre-Naadam race in Bayanchandmani sum.
Image Credit: Peter Bittner
The Herding Life in Mongolia
Horses hover near their dried, burning excrement, which keeps away the flies in the hot summer sun.
Image Credit: Peter Bittner
The Herding Life in Mongolia
A boy holds a kid.
Image Credit: Peter Bittner
The Herding Life in Mongolia
Mongolian children play at a low table as a curious cow looks on in Bayanchandmani sum.
Image Credit: Peter Bittner
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