A place famous for its nomadic culture and majestic mountain ranges, Mongolia has vast fields that could reach the skies. Even if it is located near the cold Russian areas, Mongolia experiences favorable weather most of the year. The people in this country practice simple living and travels in tight-knit communities. Their holidays are a thrill to watch with competitions for horseback riding, wrestling, and archery, boasting their manly prowess. Canoeing in their vast rivers, hiking and camping, horseback riding and visiting the villages are popular activities for tourists in this country. The people practice a set of rituals and traditions as part of their culture that would be enjoyable to immerse in but should also be handled with deference.
Important and Interesting Facts about Mongolia
- Mongolia is a landlocked country in east-central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west.
- Mongolia is the world’s 19th-largest country (after Iran). It is significantly larger than the next-largest country, Peru.
- Mongolia known as the “Land of the Eternal Blue Sky” or “Country of Blue Sky” (Mongolian: “Mönkh khökh tengeriin oron”) because it has over 250 sunny days a year.
- The geography of Mongolia is varied, with the Gobi Desert to the south and with cold and mountainous regions to the north and west. Much of Mongolia consists of steppes, with forested areas comprising 11.2% of the total land area, a higher percentage than the Republic of Ireland (10%).
- The highest point in Mongolia is the Khüiten Peak in the Tavan bogd massif in the far west at 4,374 m (14,350 ft).
- The name “Gobi” is a Mongol term for a desert steppe, which usually refers to a category of arid rangeland with insufficient vegetation to support marmots but with enough to support camels. Mongols distinguish Gobi from desert proper, although the distinction is not always apparent to outsiders unfamiliar with the Mongolian landscape. Gobi rangelands are fragile and are easily destroyed by overgrazing, which results in expansion of the true desert, a stony waste where not even Bactrian camels can survive.
- Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, about 80km north-east of Ulaanbaatar in the region of Tov Aimag, is a deservedly popular destination. At 1600m, the area is cool and the alpine scenery is magnificent. Terelj was first developed for tourism in 1964 and 30 years later it became part of the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. One of the most visited sights within the National Park is the Turtle Rock, (Melkhii Khad in Mongolian) which is one of many rock formations, that is shaped like a turtle.
- Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve, 130km east-southeast of Ulaanbaatar, is the state combined from diversity of ecosystem although it owns comparatively small area. The harmonized complex of high mountains, steppes, rivers, lakes and wetlands as well are kept enough as its original condition. Whoever visiting enjoys to see Gun-Galuut vast steppe seems to meet the sky, the imposing mountains Baits and Berkh, a home land of rare creatures, Ikh-Gun and Ayaga lakes, a paradise of birds, Kherlen, the longest river of Mongolia and Tsengiin Burd wetland, in where water and wetland birds lay their eggs.
- The Chuluut (stony river) is a river flowing down through the valleys of the Khangai Mountains in central Mongolia, and a tributary of the Ideriin gol. It is 415km long, the width at the mouth into the Ider river is 80m, the maximum depth is 3m. It is usually frozen from November to April. This river locates at 30km from Tariat soum of Arkhangai province. Chuluut canyon stretches 25km in long, above 20m in high.
- Known as the “Dark blue pearl” of Mongolia, lake Huvsgul is one of the country’s largest lakes and it features one of the most spectacular areas of the country. Bordered to the north by Sayan Mountain and to the west by the Horidol Saridag Range, the lake is 136km long and 36km wide stretching from north to south. Huvsgul is the 14th largest freshwater lake in the world by volume and its 380 cubic km of water make up over 1% of the world’s fresh water.
- In Altai Tavan Bogd National Park, snow capped mountains, glacial valleys, forests and beautiful lakes and rivers create a majestic setting. In the north of the park, Khuiten peak (4374m, the highest point of Mongolia) of the Altai Tavan Bogd Mountains and the Potuninii Glacier (23km²) draw alpine enthusiasts from around the world.
- One of the famous places is Bayanzag, bottom of Ancient Sea which excited 60-70 million years ago where a lot of Paleontological findings have been discovered. The place is known as Flaming Cliffs so named by Roy Andrew Chapman American explorer, who had visited Mongolia in 1920. During the two years of searching through the Mongolian Gobi Desert, the dinosaur fossils have been found from Bayanzag, Nemekht Mountain. He brought his paleontological findings on 70 camels. Chapman presented Mongolia one large skeleton on show in the Ulaanbaatar Natural History Museum. He found 10 kinds of dinosaurs 8 were found from Mongolia.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Mongolia
- Genghis Khan could not read or write, but he commissioned the first Mongolian writing system – the Mongolian script. Since the Soviet period, Mongolians have used the Cyrillic script. In Mongolian, the verb comes last. If you want to know whether a Mongolian loves or hates you, you have to wait till the end of the sentence!
- In the streets of Ulaanbaatar you’ll find a large number of so-called MobiPhones. These are wireless phones operated by phone vendors who charge users 100 tugriks per minutes. The phones are about two times the size of a regular phone but you’ll see them at small kiosks around the city.
- When walking down a street in a Mongolian town or city if you accidentally bump into a person or brush past them, don’t be surprised if the other person reaches for your hand. Go ahead and shake their hand or even just touch it to apologize and express that it was indeed an accident and not intentional. The same gesture applies if your leg accidentally hits someone else’s under the table. Remember to shake hands!
- The horse and camel are very important animals in Mongolia. Even the bridges for playing snooker are called after them
- Joining Mongolians for a drink of vodka is often a big pleasure. But unfortunately alcoholism is a big problem in Mongolia. Government sets an example by prohibiting the use of alcohol in the parliament building, except for an occasional glass of champagne at a celebration.
- If you have trouble distinguishing a Mongolian man from a Chinese just by his face, try to discretely look down a little bit. If the person wears his belt on the belly you can be almost certain he is Chinese, but if the belt is below the belly, most probably you are dealing with a Mongolian!
- The chairman of an American soft-drink company attributed sluggish sales of his new product line to the outbreak of a rare yak disease in Mongolia. (“Yaks are our chief delivery mode in Central Asia,” he explained).
- In winter you’ll find venders selling ice cream on the street from paper boxes. There’s no need for a freezer at -30 degrees Celsius.
- You could fit the Netherlands into Mongolia thirty seven times. But you could fit Mongolian roads into the Dutch road system sixty seven times!
- A 131-foot statue of Genghis Khan sits just outside Ulan Bator and is the world’s tallest statue of a horse.
- The Mongolian Stock Exchange is the smallest in the capitalist world.
- In the 1920s, fossilised dinosaur remains were found in the Gobi Desert, along with the first dinosaur eggs. Many dinosaur fossils still lie exposed today, so keep an eye on the ground as well as the stunning landscape!
Historical and Cultural Facts about Mongolia
- Nomadic tribes that periodically plundered agriculturally based China from the west are recorded in Chinese history dating back more than 2,000 years. It was to protect China from these marauding peoples that the Great Wall was constructed around 200 B.C. The name Mongol comes from a small tribe whose leader, Ghengis Khan, began a conquest that would eventually encompass an enormous empire stretching from Asia to Europe, as far west as the Black Sea and as far south as India and the Himalayas. But by the 14th century, the kingdom was in serious decline, with invasions from a resurgent China and internecine warfare.
- The State of Mongolia was formerly known as Outer Mongolia. It contains the original homeland of the historic Mongols, whose power reached its zenith during the 13th century under Kublai Khan. The area accepted Manchu rule in 1689, but after the Chinese Revolution of 1911 and the fall of the Manchus in 1912, the northern Mongol princes expelled the Chinese officials and declared independence under the Khutukhtu, or “Living Buddha.”
- Between 1206 and his death in 1227, the Mongol leader Genghis Khan conquered nearly 12 million square miles of territory—more than any individual in history. Along the way, he cut a ruthless path through Asia and Europe that left untold millions dead, but he also modernized Mongolian culture, embraced religious freedom and helped open contact between East and West.
- In 1921, Soviet troops entered the country and facilitated the establishment of a republic by Mongolian revolutionaries in 1924. China also made a claim to the region but was too weak to assert it. Under the 1945 Chinese-Russian Treaty, China agreed to give up Outer Mongolia, which, after a plebiscite, became a nominally independent country.
- A 20-year treaty of friendship and cooperation, signed in 1966, entitled Mongolia to call on the USSR for military aid in the event of invasion. Thus allied with the USSR in a dispute with China, Mongolia began mobilizing troops along its borders in 1968 when the two powers became involved in border clashes on the Kazakh-Sinkiang frontier to the west and at the Amur and Ussuri rivers.
- Approximately twenty five million head of livestock supply the staples of the diet; meat and dairy products feature prominently in this cuisine. Mongolian cooking is generally very simple and does not use many spices, flavorings or sauces. Common dishes include steamed meat–filled dumplings ( buuz ), mutton soup with noodles ( guriltai shul ) and fried meat pasties ( huushuur ). Mongolians drink copious quantities of milk tea ( suutei tsai ), which frequently contains salt and a generous spoonful of fresh or rancid butter.
Several generations of families customarily live together in a nomadic camp known as a khot ail (“group of tents”) and share herding tasks. This camp, generally consisting of two to seven households, serves as a way of pooling labor for herding and has numerous social and ritual functions. Besides the khot ail, a larger neighborhood group called neg nutgiinhan (“people of one place”) generally consists of four to twenty khot ails that frequently move and work together.
- Hospitality has always been extremely important in Mongolian culture. Since visitors often travel great distances, there are many ritual ways of showing politeness, especially to guests. One such custom that remains from feudal times is the snuff bottle ritual— a guest and host offer each other their snuff bottles to examine as part of a greeting ritual. It is customarily expected that guests will be served the finest food possible and that vodka will also be plentiful.
- The Golden Eagle festival is held over two days every year, celebrating age-old Kazakh traditions. It begins with a parade of eagle hunters on horseback, displaying their elaborate hunting costumes and accessories. The eagles are judged for their speed and agility, as the birds are released from a cliff and swoop down to land on the arms of the hunters below. The men demonstrate their courage and horsemanship and a variety of traditional games.
- The main religion is Lamaism, which is the Yellow Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Until the 16th century, shamanism was the dominant religion in Mongolia. Lamaism was introduced to the populace by the leader Altan Khan (1507–83). In the 18th century, the Manchus further encouraged Lamaism since they preferred Mongol males to become monks rather than warriors.
- Funerals were traditionally an important and costly event for Mongolian families. They would customarily give lamas substantial monetary gifts to pray for the well-being of the spirit of the deceased. Receiving the lamas’ consultation about the handling and disposition of the body was considered very important to prevent future misfortune from occurring to the family. Others in the community would typically provide gifts of animals and money to assist the family at the time of the funeral.
- A deel (Mongolian: дээл [teːɮ]; Buryat: дэгэл) is an item of traditional clothing commonly worn since centuries ago among the Mongols and other nomadic tribes of Central Asia, including various Turkic peoples, and can be made from cotton, silk, wool, or brocade. The deel is still commonly worn by both men and women outside major towns,especially by herders.