Horses, Mongolian Steppe

Photograph by Mark Leong, National Geographic

An ocean of green, Mongolia is the most sparsely populated country in the world, with just under three million people in a landmass larger than Alaska. Mongolian culture—physical, mobile, self-reliant, and free—developed out here on the steppe. "When people move to Ulaanbaatar, they bring that mentality with them," says Baabar, a well-known publisher and historian.

See more pictures from the October 2011 feature story "The Urban Clan of Genghis Khan."