23 Fun Facts About Mongolia’s Culture And Geography

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Also known as the “Land of Genghis Khan”, Mongolia has much more to offer than just historical wars. 

From wild horses to brain-freezing ice creams in a paper cup – there’s so much to explore when you are there!

Dive in and experience Mongolia’s culture and geography with this list of fun facts.

1. Mongolians Are Always Ready For A Guest

Mongolians value the sense of community more than anyone else. Thus, despite communication issues and vast distances, they visit each other and welcome guests with a bowl of warm and salty milk tea.

2. Mongolia Is Home To Endangered Snow Leopards

While snow leopards are endangered, one-third of their population can still be seen in Mongolia. You’ll be surprised to know that they can neither roar nor purr.

3. The Endangered Two-Humped Bactrian Camel Is Native To Mongolia

Mongolians take pride in the Bactrian camel and organize a local camel festival every year to celebrate.

Bactrian Camel

A celebration dedicated to a single animal? Only in Mongolia.

4. Ice Cream Is A Favourite Winter Treat In Mongolia

When in Mongolia, you can have ice cream from paper boxes (rather than freezers) in winter. The vendors don’t require a freezer because the temperature remains around -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit).

5. The Great Genghis Khan Is Mongolia’s Founding Father

Back in the 13th century, Genghis Khan united the nomadic tribes who helped him get control of Eurasia and bring it under the Mongol Empire.

6. Mongolia Is The Land Where Dinosaurs Once Roamed

Down in the Gobi desert, Dinosaur fossils were found in 1923, and dinosaur eggs around nine inches have been discovered.

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7. Mongolia Has The World’s Coldest Capital City

Ulaanbaatar, the country’s north-central part, at 1,350 m above sea level, is the world’s coldest capital city, where temperatures can drop as low as−36 to −40 °C.


Interestingly, the capital city’s name means Red Hero.

8. Mongolia Is Called “The Land Of The Blue Sky”

For most of the year, Mongolia remains cloud-free, and you can enjoy vast stretches of blue sky.

9. Fermented Horse Milk Is A Popular Mongolian Beverage

Mongols love Airag, made from fermented horse milk and often served to greet guests. It’s absolutely worth a try!

10. The Naadam Festival Is Very Popular In Mongolia

The annual sporting event, Naadam, hosted in Mongolia every year, is popularly known for “the three games of men,” including archery and horse racing.

Two men competing at Naadam Festival

If you happen to be there in midsummer, add this to your ‘must do’ list!

11. Mongolia Has Asia’s Second-Largest Desert

As the Gobi Desert is located in southern Mongolia to parts of Northern and Northeastern China, the Tibetan Plateau blocks the rain-bearing winds from the Indian Ocean – resulting in low precipitation.

12. Mongolia Is The 2nd Largest Landlocked Country In The World

After Kazakhstan, which is 2,724,900 km², Mongolia is the second largest landlocked country in the world, with 1,564,116 km² of wide-open spaces. It has no natural access to the sea.

13. Horse Racing Is The Most Popular Sport In Mongolia

Horseback riding is one of Mongolia’s most common transportation modes, making horse racing quite a popular sport.

Horse Racing in Mongolia

However, the circular tracks aren’t used, and races happen on open lands where they ride semi-wild horses.

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14. The Mongol Empire Was The Largest In The World

Back in the 13th and 14th centuries, the Mongol Empire occupied 9.27 million square miles from Eastern Europe to the Sea of Japan. That’s almost twice any modern day country.

15. Most Mongolians are Buddhists

The most popular religion in Mongolia is Buddhism, with almost 53% of Buddhists in the country. Mind you, 38.6% of Mongolians are non-religious.

16. The Traditional Mongolian Attire Is The Deel

Deel is like an overcoat but unbuttoned, worn by the rural elderlies even today.

Man with Traditional Mongolian Attire and raindeer

Mongolians use belts and clasps to hold the attire in place.

17. The Oldest National Park In The World Is In Mongolia

Mongolia still has a historical national park to the south of Ulaanbaatar. In the 18th century, the Qing Dynasty first declared it protected to restore the rich wildlife and natural beauty.

18. Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa Was The First Mongolian In Space

Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa, with Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov, was the first Mongolian to set foot in space in the Salyut-6 mission. Isn’t it something to be really proud of?

19. The Nomads Of Mongolia Live In Tents Called “ger”

Even though foreigners call Mongolian tents teepees because of their similarity with the native American ones – these are actually known as “Ger,” which means home in the Mongolian language.

3 ger tents in the desert

20. Mongolia Is Separate From Inner Mongolia

While inner Mongolia is a smaller province in China, outer Mongolia covers the major part of the modern Mongolia province. China’s Qing Dynasty made this unique division in the 18th century.

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21. Mongols Once Tried To Invade Japan In The 13th Century

In the 13th century, the Mongols tried to invade the territories of Japan through the sea route. However, they were destroyed by a typhoon, so the Japanese still call the typhoons “kamikaze,” which means “the divine wind.”

22. Mongolians Do Not Wish On Shooting Stars

According to Mongolian culture, the Mongolians do not wish on shooting stars because they think it represents the end of a person’s life and their incomplete desires. Instead of making a wish, they pray when they see shooting stars.

23. Throat Singing Is A Major Mongolian Tradition

Throat harmony, or Hooliin Chor, is quite popular in Mongolia and is considered a major tradition. In such singing, the singer goes from high to higher pitches, and it feels absolutely like a tribal opera!

Joshua Smith

Joshua has visited 10 countries and has another 110 to go! He plans to sail around the world over 5 years, and then spend the next 5 years driving around the world in a 4×4. He prefers to explore the more remote places without the tourists, and yet, doesn’t mind the ritzy feel of business class at 10,000 feet either.

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