19 Amazing Facts about Mongolia You Didn’t Know

interesting facts about Mongolia

Mongolia is a country located in East Asia with a population of 3 million people. It is a nation that is often overlooked because of strong neighboring countries like China and Russia. However, Mongolia has a rich history and culture that is worth exploring. Here are 19 of the most amazing facts about Mongolia that you should know!

19 Amazing Facts about Mongolia

1. Mongolians Are Wonderful Hosts

Mongolia has a majority of nomadic population, and communication is quite challenging for people who do not know their way around. Despite that, there is a sense of community, of which hospitality is an essential factor. Mongolian countryside people always have their doors open to offer a bowl of milk to their guests.

2. The Famous Eagle Hunting Festival of Mongolia

It’s an old Kazakh tradition where eagle hunters parade in elaborate costumes to start the event. Eagle hunting is not about hunting the birds. Instead, it’s about collaborating with them to demonstrate their speed and agility as they land on the hunters’ arms.

The tradition is passed down from father to son, but a few female hunters still remain in Mongolia. In fact, the eagle hunting festival became globally famous thanks to a female teenage hunter named Zamanbol.

Eagle Hunters of Mongolia

3. Genghis Khan Is the Founding Father of Mongolia

Genghis Khan united many tribes in the northeast Asia region that became the largest empire in the world at his time. Only the British empire was able to exceed that in the 19th century. Genghis Khan and his horsemen established an empire in an area more extensive than the Romans. It took Romans four centuries to do what Genghis Khan accomplished in 25 years!

4. Genghis Khan’s Burial Site Is in Mongolia

Genghis Khan’s wish was to be buried in the Burkhan Khaldun mountain in northeastern Mongolia. When he passed away in Yinchuan, his soldiers carried his remains and took him to the mountain. The exact location of his burial site is still a secret even after centuries. A legend suggests that Genghis Khan’s soldiers killed all the funeral attendees to keep the burial site a secret.

5. Genghis Khan Introduced Mongolian Scripture

Genghis Khan was illiterate, but he commanded his people to introduce Mongolian scripture. They adopted it using the Uyghur script. During the evolution of the scripture, Mongolians also incorporated Latin in the 1930s but replaced it with Cyrillic script later.

6. Mongolia’s Snow Leopards Are Endangered Species

Mongolia has the second-largest snow leopard population that is slowly going extinct. They are wild creatures hunted for their fur and for killing livestock. Humans are encroaching on their home territory, which is a major factor contributing to the endangerment of this species.

Endangered Snow Leopards of Mongolia

7. Two-Humped Bactrian Camel Is Native to Mongolia

Two-humped Bactrian camels are going extinct in Mongolia. Therefore a local private organization sponsors the Thousand Camel Festival each year to preserve this camel species. The festival is famous in Mongolia, where you can interact with the camels and learn about their life from the camel herders.

8. Mongolia Is One of the First Lands of Dinosaurs

The Gobi      Desert is famous for many reasons, and the most incredible one is the presence of fossilized dinosaurs. In the 1920s, people found the first dinosaur eggs along with other remains in the desert, making it an important historical site. Some fossils are still exposed in the region.

9. Mongols Established an Express Postal System 1000 Years Ago!

During the reign of Kublai Khan, which was a thousand years ago, messages were sent using the express postal service. They were delivered using a horse, and a feather was used if the message was urgent. This horse postal service was adopted globally later and remained in service until the 20th century.

The postal system was named Yam, which had messengers delivering news and intelligence reports from station to station. China had over 1400 stations during this time period.

10. It Is the Second-Largest Landlocked Country

Mongolia is the second-largest landlocked country after Kazakhstan. Mongolia is neighbors with Russia and China, with no water bodies serving as borders, making it a landlocked country. There are 44 countries in total that are landlocked with no coastlines.

There are benefits and disadvantages of being a landlocked country. For one, Mongolia does not have to worry about being invaded by sea or getting hit by bad coastal weather. On the other hand, they are at a disadvantage when it comes to trade routes.

11. Mongolian Horses Outnumber People

There are more than 3 million horses in Mongolia! Whether it was 1000 years ago or now, horses have always been important to the people of Mongolia. They traditionally believe that a Mongol without a horse is just a bird without wings. Therefore, everyone can afford a horse as it’s a crucial income-generating aspect of the major nomadic population.

12. Mongolia Is Home to the Only True Wild Horse

While the American Mustang and Australian Brumby are considered wild horses, they are just domestic horses turned wild after training. There is only one true wild horse breed that has never been domesticated, and it lives in Mongolia. The Takhi horse was thought to be extinct in the 1960s, but it is a rare breed and is now considered an endangered species.

13. Naadam Festival Is the Olympics of Mongolia

Naadam Festival is held each year in July to celebrate the commemoration of Mongolia after the 1921 revolution. The festival takes over the entire country and is nothing short of an Olympics event! There is an opening ceremony held in Ulaanbaatar (capital of Mongolia) that is the highlight of the festival. You get to see the Mongolian culture in all its glory with stunning outfits and ethnic performances.

14. Fermented Horse Milk Is a Favorite Among Mongols

Fermented horse milk is called Airag in Mongolian, and it’s the favorite drink of nomadic families. They also offer it to all their guests and find it rude if someone rejects it.

Airag is prepared in a traditional ger of nomadic Mongolians who filter the horse milk using a cloth. They pour it into a leather sack and mix it using a wooden masher for several days. Not every foreigner is fond of the taste, but it’s better to take a few sips than to turn it down and dishearten your hosts.

Fermented Horse Milk in Mongolia

15. Mongolia Has an Eternal Blue Sky

Mongolia is a country of desert and mountains with open plains almost everywhere. They have 250+ sunny days per year with clear blue skies. No wonder people call it the ‘Land of the Eternal Blue Sky!’

16. Ulaanbaatar Is Among the Most Polluted Capital Cities

There is a huge population of nomads in Ulaanbaatar, given the migration in the past decade or so. Of the 3 million people of Mongolia, 1.38 million live in the capital city. This has increased the levels of smog and pollution in the city.

17. Mongolians Love Sheep Meat

Mongolian cuisine has an abundance of meat, animal fat, and dairy products. They consume the most amount of sheep and goat meat per person. In fact, the most common dish is cooked mutton in Mongolia. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, Mongolian cuisine may not be for you!

18. They Have No Coins for Currency

The Mongolian currency is called tögrög, which used to have coins. Their value decreased after the 1992 inflation surge that encouraged people to stop the circulation of coins. Since then, the Mongolians have only been using larger bills.

19. Tsagaan Suvarga Is the Best Mongolian Landscape

Mongolia has stunning landscapes, but Tsagaan Suvarga is a marvelous sight to behold. Tsagaan Suvarga means ‘white stupa’ because it faces east and becomes a death site for animals if there is a storm. The stupa rises 90 degrees towards the sky with a 60m tall formation and 400m impressive length. Once the rain stops, a torrent of water cascades down the stupa in a stunning waterfall.

A Journey Through Mongolia (Full Length Documentary)

Mongolia! A Journey through Mongolia is a travel documentary about a one-month trip through the great expanses of the Mongolian plains. The trip started with a few days in Ulaanbaatar to experience the sprawling metropolis. The travelers had a chance to visit Hustai National Park, spend ten days with the Tsaatan Reindeer Herder tribe, and attend the Golden Eagle Festival. We hope you will enjoy this full-length travel documentary!

Summary

Mongolia might be an underrated Asian country, but its traditional values and historical importance make it an exciting tourist location. People might be skeptical at first, given the lack of urban population and an abundance of nomads.

However, the open-hearted Mongolian hosts and traditional treats contribute to a pleasant stay. We hope these facts about Mongolia sparked your curiosity about exploring the country for yourself!

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