Mongolia is historically the homeland of Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes (see also tatar cuisine) who swept westwards to Europe in the 13th century. This is a landlocked and thinly populated country perched between Russia to the north and China to the south. It is divided geographically into the arid south, including the Gobi desert, and the mountainous north, where there are pastures for cattle and some wheat is grown.
Mongolia is essentially a land of nomadic pasturalists, and large herds of sheep, goats, camels, and horses form the mainstay of the economy. The life of the Mongols is a constant cycle of seasonal migrations from flat open summer pastures to protected river valleys for the winter.