That's how long-term plans go... After all, I landed in Mongolia - and didn't regret it for a second. This is a small record about a rather unknown corner (the northwestern one) of this fascinating country. The images are ordered (almost) chronologically.


The map is from Letts's popular atlas, being a series of maps delineating the whole surface of the globe, with many special and original features; and a copious index of 23,000 names published in London in 1883. The map itself, here under the title Russia in Asia, Chinese Empire, etc. No. 3, had already appeared in the collection of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge aka SDUK in 1844, adapted from John Arrowsmith's London Atlas of Universal Geography of 1842. In the latter, the map was part of the much larger Northern Asia, from the Himalaya Mountains to the Arctic Ocean. The pictured parts of Russia and Mongolia originate most probably from a Russian source; the French-inspired transliteration of names ("Irkoutsk") and their provenience ("Ubsu-Nur" is still how they call the Uvs lake in Russian) are quite telling.

There are many names on the map which have retained their validity to date: Ulangom, meaning "red sand" in Mongolian, shows clearly in "Oulan koum Desert", and the "Karkira R." is still pretty much the same. The latitudes slipped badly though: the 50th parallel runs well to the south of Uvs Nuur now.

Map image © Cartography Associates