When people think of Mongolia, some of the things that come to mind are Genghis Khan, horses, and grasslands. Even though the country has historical importance, it is a rather underrated tourist destination. Most of it is because people don’t know much about the country, and these fun facts about Mongolia might change your perception.
Mongolia offers some incredible experiences that are definitely worthy of the bucket list. Here are 20 interesting facts about Mongolia that might just surprise you.
Historical Facts About Mongolia
Mongolia is a country that has a long and detailed history. The country’s origin can be traced back to the founder of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan. Here are a few historical facts about Mongolia.
Mongolia Was Home To Many Dinosaur Species
While horses and livestock roam the vast Mongolian lands today, they might just be walking in the footsteps of dinosaurs.
Before the asteroid hit the earth and killed off all the Dinosaurs, the region we call Mongolia seemed to be a hot spot for many different dinosaur species. Many dinosaur fossils have been found in the country, which shows that a large population of dinosaurs roamed the region millions of years ago.
The Mughal Empire Founder Was A Mongol
The Mughal Empire was one of the most powerful empires in the Subcontinent. With their might, the Mughal Dynasty ruled over the Subcontinent for over 300 years.
However, what many may not know is that the Mughals were actually descendants of Mongolian conquerors. The first Mughal emperor Babur was a direct descendent of both Genghis Khan and Timur on his mother and father’s side, respectively.
Cultural Facts About Mongolia
There are many aspects of the customs in Mongolia that have their roots in the Mongol Empire. People in present-day Mongolia haven’t given up on a lot of their ancient cultures. Here are some amazing facts about Mongolian culture.
Around 40% Of The Country’s Population Still Lives As Nomads
If you have ever studied Genghis Khan, then you know that he used to live as a nomad. It is a big part of Mongolian culture. So much so that about 40% of Mongolia’s population still lives a nomadic lifestyle.
Fermented Horse Milk Is Very Popular In Mongolia
Fermented Horse Milk is a traditional beverage in Mongolia. It is an alcoholic drink that is referred to as Airag. If you want to experience true Mongolian culture, then trying fermented horse milk should be on the top things to do in Mongolia.
It is one of the traditional Mongolian food and drinks that reflects the deep heritage of the country.
International Woman’s Day And Children’s Day Are Public Holidays In Mongolia
International woman’s day (March 8th) and Children’s Day (June 1st) are public holidays in Mongolia. Other public holidays include the Naadam festival holidays, the new year, Independence Day, and the old Mongolian new year.
The Mongol Empire may be ruthless towards women and children, but the country of Mongolia appreciates and celebrate women and children.
Naadam Festival Is Considered As The Mongolian Olympics
It is a traditional Mongolian festival that is also locally known as the three games of men. These games include wrestling, archery, and horse racing. It is a really big deal in the country, and people from all over Mongolia participate in it.
Recently women have also started taking part in horse racing and archery at the Naadam Festival. The days of the Naadam festival (July 11 to July 15) are considered national holidays.
The Majority Of People In Mongolia Follow Buddhism
Over 87% of the people in Mongolia follow Buddhism, while the second largest religion in the country is Islam, with over 5% Muslims.
Mongols in the time of Genghis Khan were also religious. They followed Shamanism and Tengrism. Around 4% of the total population in the country still follows Shamanism.
Interesting Facts About Mongolia For Kids
Kids these days have access to a lot of information because of the internet, and many kids might have heard the name Genghis khan. This can also pique the interest of kids to learn more about Mongolia.
Here are some interesting facts about Mongolia for kids that are simple to remember and fun to learn.
Mongolians Love To Eat Ice Cream In The Winter
While many people around the world dread catching a cold after drinking something cold during the winter, Mongolians actually enjoy ice cream during the winter season. You can even find ice cream being sold on different stalls without a freezer because the country is so cold that the ice creams don’t melt.
In addition, there are also interesting sweets and desserts in Mongolia that are definitely worth trying.
Two Humped Bactrian Camel Can Be Found In Mongolia
The two-humped Bactrian Camel is a majestic creature but what many people don’t know is that the animal is native to Mongolia. A sister species of the domesticated Bactrian Camel is the wild Bactrian Camel which is also native to Mongolia.
It is a critically endangered species, with around 1000 left in the world. The government of Mongolia and China are collectively trying to conserve the species.
Mongolia’s Capital, Ulaanbaatar, Is The Coldest Capital In The World
There are definitely colder places in the world, but when it comes to the capitals of independent nations, Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, is considered the coldest capital in the world. On average, the city has a temperature of –0.4C. Brrr…
Fun Mongolia Facts For Travelers
Historians and leisure travelers can both have a great time while visiting Mongolia. Here are some useful Mongolia facts for travelers.
Mongolia Is Referred To As The Land Of The Blue Sky
Mongolia is known as the land of the blue sky because, over 250 days of the year, you get to see a clear and blue sky without any clouds in the sky.
Mongols Treat Their Guests With Great Respect
The Mongols treat their guests with a lot of respect. If they invite you to their house and offer you fermented horse milk, that is a sign of respect and care from them.
Guests will usually accept the drink; otherwise, the host might feel insulted or disappointed. This strong guest culture isn’t something new. It was prevalent even at the time of Genghis Khan.
The Gobi Desert Is The Second Largest Desert In Asia
The Gobi Desert is the second largest desert in Asia after the Arabian desert. However, its significance in the old days wasn’t because of its size, but because it was part of the large trading network that we all know as the ancient Silk Road.
There were many cities near the Gobi Desert that were considered good trading points by merchants. This is one destination to visit when traveling in Mongolia.
Common Facts About Mongolia
Here are some general facts about Mongolia to know about.
Mongolia Is The Second Largest Landlocked Country In The World
Even though the Mongol Empire was spread over a big part of Asia and Europe and had a huge coastline, the country of Mongolia is unfortunate in this regard. It is the second largest landlocked country in the world after Kazakhstan.
Not having a natural water source in your country can be a big problem. Mongolia has been facing water shortage issues since 2014, and it is believed that the country will run out of water by 2030.
1 Of Every 200 Men Alive Today Are Related To Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan had four sons and five daughters from his wife. However, the Mongol leader also had multiple secondary wives and concubines. Some estimates show that Genghis khan had 500 or more concubines, which means that he fathered hundreds of children.
The exact number of his children is unknown, but a study by genealogists showed that 1 of every 200 men alive today has the same Y chromosome as Genghis Khan.
Mongolia Still Has A Horse Culture
The population of Mongolia is a little over 3.3 million people, whereas the number of horses in the country is over 4 million. Mongolia is the only country in the world where you can find a large population of wild horses.
Facts About The Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire was once the strongest empire in the world. People know the Mongols as merciless warriors that pillaged cities and killed people.
However, believe it or not, Genghis Khan actually introduced a lot of effective reforms in his empire, including the first-ever international postal service called Ortoo in the Mongol empire. Here are a few other Mongolian empire facts.
The Mongol Empire Was Founded By Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan is to Mongolia what George Washington is to The United States. The world might have different views about Genghis Khan, but the Mongolians hail him as a hero. Modern-day Mongolia is a remnant of the Mongolian empire, and thus it can be said that Mongolia was founded by Genghis Khan.
The Mongol Empire Lasted For Over 150 Years
The Mongol Empire was founded in the year 1206, and it was dissolved in 1368. Infighting and attacks from nearby empires resulted in the dissolution of the empire. After the dissolution of the Mongol Empire, there were still smaller Khaganates in the region that were ruled by Mongols.
The Mamluks Were The First To Permanently Stop The Mongol Conquest
The Mamluk Sultanate was a Muslim sultanate based in Egypt. The Ilkhanate, ruled by the grandson of Genghis Khan, Hulagu Khan, started expanding to the west.
However, they faced powerful opposition in the form of the Mamluk Sultanate. The Mongols were known to be ferocious and merciless, but the Mamluk Sultan Qutuz refused to give up.
Both armies met on September 3rd, 1260, at Ain Jalut, which is located in modern-day Israel. The Mongol army was defeated, and all the territories captured by the Mongol Army were then returned to the Mamluk sultanate.
The Emperor Was Called The Great Khan In The Mongol Empire
The title Khan has been used by different empires, but it has somewhat of the same meaning everywhere. In the Mongol empire, the Khan was the head of the tribe, and the Khagan was the ruler of all Mongol tribes. It can be considered equivalent to the position of an Emperor.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Mongolia
These are just some of the interesting facts about Mongolia that show the country’s uniqueness. Mongolia may not be one of your considerations but a trip to this still relatively undiscovered land can be an amazing experience.
Don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the local culture before you make the trip, and don’t be afraid to try out the nomadic lifestyle for a few days. It will be a great cultural experience which will transport you back in time. You will gain a deeper appreciation and uncover more Mongolia facts.