Nepal’s history dates back more than 2,500 years. But much of that ancient history is unknown. Many of the UNESCO sites worth visiting date back to the 1400s. It’s worth knowing a bit about Nepali politics, as it’s an unstable and ever-changing topic. A monarchy ruled Nepal until 2008, at which time a democratic republic and a constitution were established and adjusted over the next several years.

As Nepal developed, unlike many countries it remains about 80% rural. It’s also one of the least developed countries in the world according to the U.N. This means travelers will see drastic differences between life in the cities and life in the small villages. As a result of this mix, lifting the rural areas out of extreme poverty has proven difficult. The political climate is often tense, and the lack of education in these rural areas has had a direct impact on the preservation of Nepal’s natural resources. As tourists come to Nepal, the country struggled to meet tourism demand. This has resulted in poorly maintained transportation infrastructures and the use of natural resources in unsustainable ways. It’s a bit of a tough situation, as the tourists are both the core issue, and yet also the only way to bring money into these areas.

Modern Nepal is a fascinating, diverse place. Neighboring countries have had a marked influence on modern Nepali life. Travelers will see influences from India, Tibet, China, and even Mongolia. The country has 30+ ethnic groups, and with these a large variation in the number of religions and dialects. With all this diversity, the country has a mixed bag of religions as well. Predominantly Hindu, the country integrates Buddhism and animism too. All this to say, the mixing of cultures over the years have given Nepal a history as beautiful as the landscape.

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