Mongolians are celebrating their traditional summer festival with an added dimension this week. They are marking the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Mongol Empire.
The peak of the year-long founding celebrations is coinciding with Nadaam, Mongolia's annual three-day festival of horsemanship, wrestling, archery and other cultural activities.
Although the Nadaam festival dates to ancient times, today it also commemorates Mongolia gaining independence from China, July 11, 1921.
The highlight of Tuesday's celebrations was the unveiling of an eight-meter-tall statue of Ghengis Khan founder of the Mongol Empire .
In the West, Ghengis Khan is often remembered as a savage warrior who destroyed the civilizations he conquered. But, in Mongolia he is revered for uniting the Mongol tribes and founding the nation. He is also remembered for religious tolerance and establishing the first trade routes from Asia to Europe.