Bayan-Olgii Province

The local culture is kept alive by the nomadic peoples who retreated into this mountainous region many years ago. 

Bayan Ílgii Province, Mongolia

Bayan Ílgii is the westernmost province of Mongolia. It is located nearly 1,700 kilometers from the Mongolia Capital, Ulaanbaatar and borders the Russian Altai Republic and China’s Xinxiang Province. Daily flights from the capital take about three hours. The name of the province (aimag in Mongolian) literally means “Rich Cradle” in Mongoian. Bayan Ílgii is distinct as being the only aimag in Mongolia that is ethnically majority Kazakh.

Bayan Ílgiiis home to the Kazakhs, a people famed for their unique culture consisting of uniquetraditions such as nomadism and hunting with eagles. The province itself has a number of breathtaking and unique sights such as the beautiful snowcapped mountains stretching into Tavan Bogd National Park, home to rare wild animals, sacred mountains, and interesting archaeological sites.

The local culture is kept alive by the nomadic peoples who retreated into this mountainous region many years ago. The cultural traditions that have become lost in Kazakhstan are preserved here among which are the famous eagle hunters and huntresses, life in felt yurts (ger in Mongolian), and the rich Muslim practices and beliefs of the people. The hospitality of these people is well known, and one quickly learns how open and generous they are in every way.

Closer to the national park live the Tuvan people, who live in the highest parts of Mongolia. They too preserve their culture and traditions. They are famed for their throat singing, medicine, and Shamanistic religion.

Ílgii City is situated on the Hovd River and surrounded by a particularly stunning circle of mountains. Located in downtown Ílgii are the Museum of Kazakh history and cultural, many traditional Mosques, and the large open-air market that the locals refer to as the Bazaar.  There are hotels, restaurants, all located around the central town square. Most of the population lives outside of the city center in traditional homes.


Climate and Geography                    48.58’47 N, 89.57’19” E



Ílgii is located in the Altai Tavan Bogd Mountain Range, which includes the highest point in Mongolia: Khuiten Peak (4374m). 95% of the Province sits at aheight greater than 1600 meters. In the province there are around 20 lakes, with the largest being beautiful Khoton Lake along with its twin Khurgan, fish-filled Dayan, and nearby Tolbo Lake. Hovd River starts from the Altai Mountains and flows into the Khar Us Lake. Most of the southern and western parts of the province are covered by forest. The animals found in this area include bears, ibex, red deer, wolves, golden eagles, and snow leopards.

This geography is exceptionally good for nomadic life. Nomads and their animals migrate across the region in this unique way of life.

Because of the high altitude the climate changes often. The temperature in winter is between 17 C and -33 C (62 F to -27 F).  In summer, the temperature is between 16 C and 29 C (60 F to 84 F). Mostly it snows up in the mountains, with the rest of the province being rarely covered. Spring and autumn are quite windy.