One of Nine Wonders of Dundgobi aimag: Ikh Gazriin Chuluu Nature ReserveArt & Culture
Dundgobi /MONTSAME/. About 80 km to the east of the Dundgobi aimag center, there is a certain lined rock formation in an area of about 600 sq.km, stretching 30 km in length and 15 km in width. This particular area is the Ikh Gazriin Chuluu Nature Reserve.
Taken under State Special Protection in 2003, the area’s status was changed to ‘Nature Reserve’ in 2013. As it attracts foreign and domestic tourists alike, special attention was given by the aimag authorities to transform the region into a tourism region, and several large scale events have been organized so far.
On the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Great Mongol Empire, an amphitheater was established near the area in 2006. Several international and domestic art festivals were organized at the theater in the years of 2006, 2013, and 2019.
Elevated 1,565-1,709 meters above sea level, Ikh Gazriin Chuluu is composed of deep rocks such as granite and diorite, as well as permian rocks, cretaceous rocks, tertiary sandstone, coal-shale, and limestone.
Alongside several peaks such as Ulzii, Sumber, Bayan Uul, and Khairkhan, it has various uniquely shaped large boulders and cliffs. The rock formation also has over 40 caves varying in sizes, such as Ulgii, Bunkhant, Shine Us, and Toonot.
Aside from common desert plants such as bridle grass, needlegrass, wild leek, wild onion, and tumbleweed, over 30 types of medicinal herbs such as thyme, roseroot, silverweed, astragalus, and sea urchins grow in the area. As for wildlife, there are over 20 species of animals from jerboas to corsac foxes.
Until mid-2000, marmots were commonly sighted at the nature reserve. However, due to wrongful actions of citizens, their numbers increasingly decreased from the year of 2010. Thus, a project has been implemented on relocating marmots to the area by the Administration of the Ikh Gazriin Chuluu Nature Reserve since 2018.