Event Detail


Mongolia: Nomads, Caravans and Migrations: A spatial odyssey back in Time

Marc Progin
Tuesday, 25 Apr 2017
Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm
1/F, The Hong Kong Club, 1 Jackson Road, Central
Please note that no denim, T-shirts or sportswear are permitted at the HK Club.

The Royal Geographical Society is pleased to welcome again traveller and photographer Marc Progin to speak on "Mongolia: Nomads, Caravans and Migrations: A spatial odyssey back in Time".  Mr Progin speaks of his extraordinary 20,000 km of journeys over 20 years from one end of Mongolia to the other by bicycle, on foot and on board camel and yak caravans, illustrated by his fine photographs and selected music.  In this lecture, Mr. Progin speaks of his recent extraordinary expedition to travel back in time in search of ancient civilisations, empires and cultures. 

For months at a time during each of the past 20 years, Mr Progin has ridden a bicycle alone across Mongolia, a land almost bereft of borders and fences, on journeys spanning some 20,000 kilometres.  In all four seasons, he has spent between 10 to 15 hours per day climbing hundreds of lofty passes, crossing the gigantic steppe, cutting through Siberian forests, crossing the Altai and Kanghai mountains and riding the deserts that form the Mongolian Gobi. 

During these trips, Mr Progin has encountered all of Mongolia's ethnic groups, most of them of Turk and Mongol origin, residing with these tribes in the vast, simple, harsh yet strikingly beautiful surroundings of Mongolia.  He has designed his own maps, navigated with the sun, the stars and a compass in all four seasons, trading his bike for hiking boots and camels when tackling ice, snow, blizzard and temperatures of -40 ℃ during his winter trips.  

This lecture focuses on his most recent adventure and cultural expedition to Mongolia that explored the fascinating history of the empires and civilisations that ruled the vast territories covering Central Asia, Tibet, China, Siberia and Mongolia.  He achieved this while trying to discover, in the wildernesses of Mongolia, anthropomorphic statues, megaliths, deer stones, petroglyphs and other relics from the shamanism world dating back millennia.  It was an adventure on land, but voyaging through 20 millennia from the contemporary to the Palaeolithic ages.

To travel back in time, he led a caravan of camels, in winter, to face snow, ice and blizzards. He had day-long camel treks followed by night temperatures dropping as low as -30 ℃ to -50 ℃.  In these conditions, he took photographs of the stone treasures he found with the planets of the cosmos for a background.  To survive the harsh conditions lasting 60 days, he travelled with a complete “ger”, or nomad's felt house.  The itinerary crossed the deserts, mountains, rivers and lakes of western Mongolia at an altitude between 1,800 to 2,900 m, and then moved on further up on the Altai plateau to reach 3,500 m. 

Marc Progin is a Swiss watchmaker, photographer and adventurer.  He has been a resident of Hong Kong for the last 40 years.  For the last 20 years, he has devoted most of his energies to travelling in Mongolia, writing stories and poetry in addition to his photography.  Mr Progin is also a seasoned long-distance trail runner.

Please note in view of the likely popularity of this lecture, we are requesting pre-booking; please click here stating the number of attendees who wish to book for the event.

Members of the RGS, their guests and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$150 for RGS Members and HK$200 for guests and others.

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