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20 Fascinating Facts About Mongolia

20 Fascinating Facts About Mongolia


1. Mongolia is a landlocked country in Asia. A landlocked country is completely surrounded by land with no access to the sea. There are currently 45 such countries and five partially recognized states.

2. The most famous Mongolian is Genghis Khan. Between 1206 and 1263 he united the Mongol tribes and launched a campaign of conquest.

3. He founded the Mongol Empire (later known as the Golden Horde) which, at its peak, controlled up to 12 million sq miles (31,079,857 sq km). It was the largest contiguous territory in history and is the second-largest kingdom of all time.

4. Following the collapse of the Golden Horde. Mongolia was ruled by the Qing dynasty of China from 1636 until 1911.

5. For much of the 20th century, Mongolia was under strict Soviet influence. It wasn’t until 1990, following the collapse of the USSR, that the country abandoned its Soviet-style one-party system.

6. The world’s largest equestrian statue is in Mongolia. Measuring 40m (131ft), the statue features Genghis Khan riding a horse on top of a coliseum of 36 columns.

world’s largest equestrian statue

7. The largest desert in Asia, the Gobi Desert, covers part of Mongolia. In Mongolian, gobi means ‘waterless place’.

8. Mongolian horsemen are alleged to have invented ice cream. They used to take cream in containers made from animal intestines for supplies during long journeys across the Gobi desert in winter. When they galloped, the cream was vigorously shaken, while it simultaneously froze in the sub-zero temperatures.

9. Mongolia is home to the endangered snow leopard. Between 13–22% of the estimated global snow leopard population reside in Mongolia.

10. Mongolia is also home to the two-humped Bactrian camel. As the only truly wild camel in the world, herds survive in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and China.

11. Every October an eagle-hunting festival takes place in Mongolia. During the Ölgii’s Eagle Festival or ‘Golden Eagle Festival’, various competitions and displays are staged over a weekend.

Eagle Hunting Festival Mongolia

12. Nomadic herding is a way of life for over a third of Mongolians. However, in recent years 600,000 people have migrated from the steppe to the capital city, Ulaanbaatar.

13. This is because Mongolia is affected by climate change more than many other nations. Over the last 70 years, the average temperature in Mongolia has risen by 2.07°C, compared to the average global increase of 0.85°C over the past 100 years. This has taken a terrible toll on livestock with millions of animals dying.

14. The world’s longest horse race is in Mongolia. The Mongol Derby is raced 1,000km across the vast Mongolian Steppe following Ghengis Khan’s ancient postal system route.

15. Every year the Naadam Festival is held in Mongolia. Nadaam means ‘games’ and the traditional festival focuses on “three manly sports” of wrestling, horseracing, and archery. However, it is also a celebration where friends and family have fun, eat and drink together.

16. Known as airag, fermented mare’s (horse) milk is Mongolia’s national drink. It has an alcohol content of around 3%.

17. Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world with only two people per sq km. Only Greenland (an autonomous territory within Denmark) has fewer.

18. In 1981, Mongolia sent Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa, the country’s first cosmonaut, into space aboard a Soviet spacecraft. He spent several days in orbit.

19. Mongolia did not win an Olympic Gold medal until the 2008 Beijing Olympics in China. Naidangiin Tüvshinbayar won gold in the half-heavyweight men’s judo event.

20. The Mongolian flag consists of equal bars of red-blue-red, symbolizing communism and Mongolian nationalism. It also features the soyombo, a traditional emblem consisting of a flame, sun, moon, yin-yang, triangles, and bars. It represents the philosophical principles of Mongolian culture and religion.




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