July 24, 2014
Eight hundred years ago the man called Temujin, better known as Genghis Khan, the king of the universe, managed to create the largest empire ever known in the history of humanity. It all began in the year 1190 when Genghis Khan managed to put together different nomadic tribes of Mongolia in a single powerful army of 200,000 men.
This and his undoubted military genius enabled him to conquer vast territories stretching from the Pacific to the heart of Europe, and from Northern Siberia to India, Iran, and Turkey. His army was relatively small, highly disciplined, extremely well coordinated, and with innovative military skill and great mobility it was organized in basic formations of 10,000 warriors on horses. The Mongol hordes lived out in the field and their battle tactics consisted of surprise attacks charging at the enemy flanks and rear guard, before launching heavy cavalry assault.
After the Genghis Khan era, series of civil wars threw the country into confusion, until in 1578 Buddhism was established as the form of government. Two centuries later Mongolians came under Chinese control, until 1924, when with the creation of the Soviet bloc the country converted to communism and became a satellite of the USSR.
With the arrival of the Russians, Mongolia underwent rapid changes, modernizing and industrializing… buildings, bridges, roads, railway lines, factories, and schools were constructed and the nomads looked on it with astonishment as virtually overnight their country was transformed from a primitive society to the progress of the 20th century.
Ulaan Bator became the new cosmopolitan capital of this renewed country, designed in accordance with the cold and impersonal urban planning standards of the Soviets. But with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the consequent disintegration of the Soviet bloc, the Russians left as just as quickly as they had arrived.
And overnight Mongolia was completely paralyzed, suffering political and economic collapse from which it still hasn’t fully recovered. Since then, the city has rapidly deteriorated and its inhabitants struggled to survive as best they can.
The heirs of Ghegis Khan will be having an increasingly powerful voice in the coming age.