The modern-day Democratic Republic of Mongolia, free from centuries of Chinese and Soviet control, is committed to planning for the future while preserving its past and its pristine natural environment.
Cities like Ulaanbaatar, where most of the population lives, have commerce, industry, high-rises, and cyber cafes—and are as cosmopolitan today as their Mongolian predecessors, Karakorum and Xanadu, were long ago.
Just a few miles away from the urban centers, though, you’ll still find nomads tending their gers. One third of Mongolians continue to live traditionally, homemaking in gers and tending their herds—although there’s often a satellite dish outside the ger.
But beyond the nomadic lifestyle and historical legacies, Genghis Khan left behind another marker: genetic inheritance. Recent DNA studies indicate that currently at least 16 million men—most living in territories conquered by the Mongols—are descendants of one Mongolian man who lived about the time of Genghis Khan.
Today, Genghis Khan continues to be revered throughout Asia and is claimed as a countryman by both China and Japan. And to the Mongolians, he remains as powerful and beloved a leader as he was in life.