ROCK NAADAM - It may not have been Summer of Love on the Steppes, nor even a Great Musical Leap Forward, but for a standout 10 minutes of high-velocity rock, a Chinese band played a signature show in Mongolia, and maybe helped heal centuries of mistrust between two of the oldest and greatest empires - the Chinese and Mongols.
MINE-GOLIA - A boom in demand for minerals, mainly from China, has transformed Mongolia from a impoverished basket case to a confident nation with one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Yet all the wealth and mutually-beneficial trade hasn't warmed relations between the longtime adversaries of China and Mongolia.
GENGHIS POLO - Polo probably wasn't invented by Genghis Khan, yet
it did originate in the region, and was unquestionably used by the Great Khan
for troop training and recreation. So, after centuries of absence, it's a treat
to participate in the reintroduction of polo in its homeland,
a place perfectly suited for the sport.
Also see the Game of Genghis Khan in Forbes Magazine.
LAST FRONTIER OF LUXE - Mongolia is one of the least populated places on the planet, with only three million people (but far more horses) in a nation the size of Western Europe. It has also long been one of the world's poorest places, but a turnaround fueled by mining has made it the darling for development and luxury sales. And the capital of Ulaanbaatar has became an Asian hotspot.
KARAKORUM RISES (AGAIN) - The ancient Mongol capital built by descendents of Genghis Khan once boasted fountains with wine flowing through silver spigots, as tribute poured in from Japan to Europe. Razed and left in ruin, the magnificent monasteries are being rebuilt and locals and tourists alike are beginning to return to this mesmerizing site.
THE LAST GREAT PLACE - That's what admirers call Mongolia, a land of blue skies and endless space, with few fences, rules or comforts. But for those looking for adventure, it may well be the last great place.
MONGOLIAN BUSINESS BOOM - After decades of decline a small post-Soviet boom is sweeping the steppes, thanks to a commitment to democracy, plus plenty of help from Uncle Sam. Proof that engagement often pays better dividends than intervention.
MONGOLIA'S MANLY SPORTS - Clubs and internet cafes have come to the capital, but Mongolia still revels in Naadam, the world's second-oldest Olympics, which, eight centuries ago, was the definition of civilization: horse racing, archery and wrestling.
FREEDOM - After seven decades of Soviet control, Mongolia underwent its own revolution in the early 1990s. Independence became the greatest buzz to hit these remote steppes since Genghis Kahn swept across with his hordes and created the world's greatest empire. Now you, too can tour this magic land.
THREE MANLY SPORTS - The best time to visit is in July, when the entire country erupts in the annual celebration of Naadam, instituted by the Great Kahn, as the world's second oldest-Olympics.
RELIGION - Independence not only released Mongolia from the strained grasp of old-style Moscow politik-think, it has also given the nomadic people the freedom to seek guidance from the long-outlawed past. In particular, Mongolians have joyfully reverted to the beloved spiritual teachings of Buddhism.
TAKING STOCK - But these wily nomads are having a bit more trouble grasping the nuances of such things as the Stock Exchange,or even the very basics of business.
HORSE SENSE - But there is great news on the range, namely that the world's first horse pictured on pre-historic cave walls and nearly extinct, is once again running free on the Mongolian steppes.
* all pictures, unless otherwise credited, by Ron Gluckman