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9000 km on horseback from Hunhary to Karakorum

A dentist from Hungary Istvan Bentse started his horseback trip three years ago from a small village of Hungary to Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia. He has traveled 9000 kilometers through eight countries including Hungary, Mongolia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan and accomplished his goal. Mr. Istvan Bentse talks about his trip to MONTSAME news agency.
- First of all, please introduce yourself to our readers? 
I am 54 years old and a dentist. I live with my wife and three children. My wife is a lawyer and my children study in medical sciences. I have no worries about my family when I am away from them for months because they support what I love to do.
-Why did you decide to make horseback trip to Mongolia, especially to Karakorum? Did you have an experience of making so long-distance trip before? 
I like studying ethnography. Mongolia and Hungary were originated from Khunnu Empire. I think I am a successor of horse culture and decided to go to Mongolia. I set off in 2016 from Hungarian village of Sailo to Karakorum city and I am happy that I have finished my travel successfully. There is a tale among Hungarians that the tomb of Attila, the ruler of the Huns is being kept in Sailo village. Hence Karakorum is the ancient capital of Mongolia, I feel close. I devoted 20 years of my life in equestrian studies. I have traveled on horseback from Kazakhstan to Hungary in 2009, from Hungary to Kazakhstan in 2012 respectively.
-What barriers and challenges did you experience when crossing such long road on horseback?  

It is crucial to have precise plan to make travel by horse. Throughout the journey, I used local horses changing frequently. Therefore, I faced some challenges to contact with local people in advance to find horses. Since I crossed border of Mongolia, I wore out about 40 horses. I experienced that Mongolian horses are really powerful.

-What was your first impression when you arrived in Mongolia? 

Mongolians treated me with great kindness seeing me travelling on horse.  It was incredible to me who have never been to Mongolia to feel friendliness of the people. I felt that I am still in Kazakhstan when I crossed border checkpoint of Bayan-Ulgii aimag because there were many Kazakh people. Further, I traveled for over 20 days, running through Khovd, Gobi-Altai, Bayankhongor and Uvurkhangai aimags and then I arrived in Ulaanbaatar city. I admired Mongolia’s special natural formation, vast steppe and the blue sky. I have had nice memories such as I run through a soum of Manchu period when traveling in Khovd aimag as well as visited in Karakorum city.
-Do you have plan to continue your horseback travel in the future? 
Now having finished my long travel, I feel exhausted. I intend to visit historical places and museums in Ulaanbaatar city during my stay here. Next year, I will travel to Japan and South Korea. After that, I will probably continue my horseback trip from Karakorum city to Beijing. I am expressing my sincere gratitude to all families who helped me and Khinayat Khumar, a citizen of Bayan-Ulgii aimag who organized trip in Mongolia and Mihaly Galosfai, Ambassador of Hungary to Mongolia and the Embassy staff.  

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