For most people Mongolia is synonymous with the vast steppe, galloping horses and nomadic felt tents. Reality is less idyllic. In the least populated country of the world, about half of the 2.6 million inhabitants live on the countryside. It's a hard life, where cattle-breeding is the most important, and often the only, source of income.
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Belgian freelance photojournalist Nick Hannes travelled over land from Brussels to Vladivostok and back from October 2006 to October 2007, filing stories and photos of his discoveries on his news blog. During his 12-month journey Hannes covered 50,000 kilometers crossing the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Mongolia, China and Russia, meeting earthquake refugees, imams, nomadic shepherds and many more. EurasiaNet is presenting a four-part series of audio-enhanced slideshows, highlighting key stops on his trip. More photos and notes from his trip can be seen at www.nickhannes.be.