Mongolia Facts: 66 Key Facts About Mongolia

Mongolia is a country in East Asia. The country is also famous for Genghis Khan, a one of a kind ruler that changed the course of history for the country. With these 66 facts about Mongolia, let’s learn more about its history, culture & tradition, economy, geography, people and lots more…

Geographical facts about Mongolia

1. Mongolia is a landlocked, unitary sovereign state in East Asia.

2. Bogd Khan Ull National Park (1783), the oldest national park in the world, is in Mongolia. It predates the Yellowstone by approximately 100 years.

3. Present day Mongolia was referred to as “Outer Mongolia.” Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region in The People’s Republic of China, located in the north of the country. Inner Mongolia contains over 12% of China’s land area and is the third largest subdivision of China.

4. Mongolia lies between China to the South and Russia to the North. It is actually bordered on the three sides (South, East, and West) by China. Kazakhstan is also near to Mongolia at only a distance of 36.76 km.

Map of Mongolia

5. With a population of around 3 million people, Mongolia, by area is the 18th largest country in the world.

6. Behind Kazakhstan, Mongolia is the world’s second largest landlocked country, followed by Chad (3rd), Niger (4th), Mali (5th), Ethiopia (6th), Bolivia (7th), Zambia (8th), Afghanistan (9th) and Central African Republic (10th largest landlocked country in the world).

7. With an average temperature of minus 1.3 degree Celsius, Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar (“Red Hero”) is the world’s chilliest capital city. The second coldest capital city in the world is Astana in Kazakhstan with average annual temperature of 3.5 degree celsius.

8. Mongolia is the world’s most sparsely populated country. It has a land area of 1.6 million km and a population of 3 million.

9. With an average altitude of 1580 m above sea level, Mongolia is one of the highest countries in the world.

10. The highest point of the country is “The Khuiten peak” at 4374 m on the west side of the country along the border with China. It is known as “Youyi Feng” in Chinese and “Nairamdal Uul” in Mongolian. The peak was first ascended in 1963 by Mongolian mountaineers sponsored by the government. It was known as “Friendship Peak” in the past.

11. The lowest point is The Hoh Nurr lake at 560 m. See the list of highest and lowest points of countries here. 

12. The Potanin Glacier, which is 14 km long, is the longest glacier in Mongolia.

13. Almost 3/4th of Mongolia’s land area is pastureland, which supports the lives of its grazing livestock.

14. Mongolia is prone to earthquakes some of whom are severe in nature. However, due to low population density, the earthquakes do not cause any major harm.

15. Mongolia has three mountain chains: the Khangai Mountains, the Khentii Mountains and the Mongolian Altai Mountains (the highest of the three ranges).

16. Mongolia does not have direct contact with any ocean. In fact, the nearest ocean to the country is the Pacific Ocean. However, Mongolia has several lakes that collectively cover an area of 16,003 kilometer square.

17. Ulaan Bataar, the capital city of Mongolia used to move three times a year (being a nomadic city). Mongolia became a member of the World Trade Organization in 1997.

18. Genghis Khan, born in 1162, formed the Mongol Empire in 1206. The Mongol Empire is also the largest contiguous empire in world history. The empire covered 22% of the Earth’s total land area. However, after the demise of Genghis Khan, the empire was divided into four kingdoms.

Flag of Mongolia

flag of Mongolia
Flag of Mongolia: blue represents the sky, red symbolizes progress and prosperity. Image via CIA

Facts about Mongolian culture and tradition

19. The country is famous for its nomadic lifestyle and traditions. The country is one of the last nations in the world to have such a high proportion of nomads among its population.

20. Airag is the traditional national drink of Mongolia. It is essentially mare’s fermented milk. This fermented milk has several benefits for health and the digestive system. The social and cultural value of the drink is similar to that of the wine in France. Learn more about Airag here.

21. Pointing fingers and talking in a raised voice is considered rude in Mongolian culture.

22. Standing or speaking on the threshold of the door in Mongolia is taboo, and so is lighting up a cigarette from a candle.

23. Goat, sheep, cattle, camel and horse are the five main types of stock that nomads of the region raise and breed for a living. These nomads move from place to place in search of the most favorable campsites and pastures.

24. Mongolians love children and this is why their average family has 4 children. A mother of five is awarded in the country as “Honored Mother“.

25. Use of right hand or both the hands while giving something to elders is considered polite.

26. “Naadam” is an annual traditional festival in Mongolia which is celebrated between 11th and 13th July.

27. In Mongolia, it is a practice to shake hands when someone accidentally touches you with their feet. It is a way of apologizing for the mistake.

28. Hospitality plays a significant role in the Mongolian culture. Guests are generally served with a bowl of Airag (Mongolia’s national drink). The guest is expected to take a sip or drink the entire bowl but not refuse the drink as it is considered gravely impolite.

29. Freedom of worship is a key element of the lives of the Mongols.

30. Singing while riding horse is quite popular in the country. Horse riders use a technique known as “Throat Singing” also known as “Khoomi Singing”. Singers use their throat and nose to produce two different sounds at the same time.

31. Music is used to express emotions for loved ones, horses, nature and the land. The traditional “Long Song” is a great tool for this purpose. It is a Mongolian classical form of singing in which each syllable of the text is extended for a long duration. Much to your surprise, a Long Song of 4 minutes in length may contain only 10 words while others may be up to 3 hours long.

Ger - a traditional Mongolian home
Outside view of a traditional Mongolian home – “Ger.” Image via Flickr.

32. Mongolian traditional homes – “the Ger or Yurt” are also a part of their national identity. The Ger is also referred as the While Pearl of the Steppe. The door of the Ger always faces south, because the wind mostly blows from North and Northwest.

A Mongolian Ger from the inside
Inside view of a Ger, Mongolia. Image via Flickr.

33. After the death of Genghis Khan, Buddhism became a dominant religion. Today, Buddhism is a wide-spread religion in the country and the inhabitants adhere to Tibetan Buddhists teachings.

34. The Dalai Lama is a key figure in the country and has visited Mongolia several times.

35. Mongolians are uncomfortable about homosexuality or same-sex relationships. However, the practice is not illegal in the country.

36. Mongolians worshiped the blue skies. They considered the sky as their father, and earth as their mother. Due to the fact that the civilization was dependent on the forces of nature, they worshiped the various elements of nature.

37. Mongolian wrestling, also known as Bokh, is the folk wrestling style of Mongolia. This form of wrestling is prevalent since the time of Genghis Khan who used the sport to keep his army in good shape and form. This sport is also a part of the national independence celebration – Naadam.

38. In Khalkha style, touching the ground with anything other than the foot loses you the match. Winners of the fight are also given awards depending on the number of fights they have won in succession.

Food in Mongolia

39. Due to certain geographical limitations, spices are not grown in the country. Traditional Mongolian foods are non-spicy mild foods. Various international cuisines are also consumed in the country but mainly in the capital or major settlements.

40. During the summer season, locals eat more of dairy products than meat. They also focus on consuming more drinks than solid foods, which helps quench their thirst.

41. Vodaka is a popular drink in the country. It is considered rude to not have a drink with your host when offered by them.

42. Meat and dairy products constitute the diet of the Mongolians. Because this is what is primarily available in the country for decades and is good for health as well.

About Genghis Khan (Chinggis Khaan)

43. Genghis Khan is just the title. His real name was Temujin. He conquered 12 million square miles of territory between his death in August 18, 1227 and 2006. He was born in 1162.

44. Prior to 1206, tribes in Mongolia were scattered. However, it was Genghis Khan who brought all the tribes together and formed a unified state. This had a long-lasting positive impact on the lives of a huge chunk of individuals at the time.

45. It is estimated that during the time of Genghis Khan, more than 40 million people died due to his campaigns of acquiring other territories.

facts about Mongolia: A giant statue of Genghis Khan riding a horse.
A giant statue of Genghis Khan riding a horse. This is the world’s tallest statue of a horse. Image via Flickr

46. A giant statue of Genghis Khan riding a horse, forty meters high, was erected in 2008. It is the world’s largest equestrian statue, and it cost nearly 4 million USD to build the same. Two hundred and fifty tons of stainless steel was used to build the statue which has an elevator to take visitors and tourist to the top of the horse’s head.

47. The burial site of Genghis Khan is a secret to this day. It is said that the burial attendees were killed by the soldier who also killed themselves in an attempt to keep the location of the site a secret, and why this was done is a question till date.

Some interesting facts about Mongolia

48. Mongolia is also known as “Land of the Eternal Blue Sky”. This title is given to Mongolia because it receives 250 days and more of sunshine every year.

49. Mongolians are nomadic and almost 30-40% of the population is expected to be living their lives this way.

50. A typical Mongolian nomadic house is made from wooden frame structure and felt. The material is light in weight so that it helps during transportation by camels.

51. Living nomadic life could be hard for anyone but not for Mongolians. They have developed special characteristics and qualities that help them survive under such harsh conditions.

facts about Mongolia: Bactrian camel
The double humped Bactrian camel from Mongolia. Image via Flickr

52. Talking about the camels, take a note that Mongolia is also home to a double humped camel – The Bactrian camel. These camels can be seen in the Gobi Desert and near some nomadic establishments. Learn more…

53. Interestingly, the Bactrian Camel can survive in temperatures ranging between minus 50 and plus fifty degree Celsius. The only other place except for Mongolia where these camels can be seen is China.

54. Horses are also of paramount importance in present day Mongolia and in the history of the country as well. Mongolia is also known as the “Land of the Horsemen”.

55. Today horses are used as a mode of transportation and were also used extensively by Genghis Khan’s army to conquer various territories.

56. Horses were also used for delivering messages throughout Mongolia some 1000 years ago. There were different stations and the postal service was known as “Yam” during the time.

57. In the Yam system of messaging, horses from one station would deliver messages to the next station and rest, and horses from the second station would deliver the messages to the third station and rest there, and so on so forth. Hence, the messages were constantly on the move without the horsemen and horses getting tired. This system facilitated quicker delivery of the messages. Each station was usually 14 to 40 miles apart. The system played a key role in the political and economical stability of the vast Mongol Empire. The system created by Genghis Khan became one of the first international postal systems.

58. The presidency of the first president of Mongolia–Navaandorjiin Jadambaa–lasted one day after he became the president of the country in 1924. He was replaced by Peljidiin Genden.

59. The first writing system of Mongolia was commissioned by Genghis Khan, who could not write or read.

60. It is estimated that modern humans reached Mongolia almost 40,000 years ago.

61. As of today, more Mongolians live in the People’s Republic of China (the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region) than in Mongolia.

62. Mongolians experience harsh conditions during the winter.

63. Mongolia is also home to Takhi Horse, a kind of a wild horse.

64. The fifth largest desert in the world and the largest in Asia, the Gobi Desert, lie in Mongolia. In the past, the Gobi was a sea and now a site of marine fossils.

65. In 1924, Mongolia became a communist country.

65. Mongolia is also one of the safest countries in the world for visitors.

66. In 2006, Mongolia passed an anti-corruption legislation.

Quick facts about Mongolia

Independence29 December 1911 (from China)
Capital CityUlaanbaatar
(47°55′N 106°53′E)
Largest CityUlaanbaatar
(47°55′N 106°53′E)
Total area1,564,116 sq km
Land area1,553,556 sq km
Population3,031,330 (July 2016 est.)
Mongol (used mainly for historical purposes)
PresidentTsakhiagiin Elbegdorj
Prime MinisterJargaltulgyn Erdenebat
Official LanguageMongolian
National Anthem"Mongol ulsyn toriin duulal" (National Anthem of Mongolia)
ReligionBuddhism (50%)
Irreligion (38.6%)
Islam (6%)
Shamanism (2.9%)
BordersChina, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh
CurrencyTögrög (MNT)
Literacy (age 15 and over can read and write)98.4%
Life Expectancy69.6 years (2016 est.)
Industriesconstruction and construction materials; mining (coal, copper, molybdenum, fluorspar, tin, tungsten, gold); oil; food and beverages; processing of animal products, cashmere and natural fiber manufacturing
Exports$4.319 billion (2016 est.)
copper, apparel, livestock, animal products, cashmere, wool, hides, fluorspar, other nonferrous metals, coal, crude oil
Imports$3.003 billion (2016 est.)machinery and equipment, fuel, cars, food products, industrial consumer goods, chemicals, building materials, cigarettes and tobacco, appliances, soap and detergent
GDP - per capita (PPP)$12,200 (2016 est.)
Birth rate19.6 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate6.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratio0.96 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Government typesemi-presidential republic
National symbolsoyombo emblem
National colorsred, blue, yellow
Terrainvast semidesert and desert plains, grassy steppe, mountains in west and southwest; Gobi Desert in south-central
Climatedesert; continental (large daily and seasonal temperature ranges)
Agricultural land73%
Natural resourcesoil, coal, copper, molybdenum, tungsten, phosphates, tin, nickel, zinc, fluorspar, gold, silver, iron
Time ZoneUTC + 7/+8
Internet country
Calling Code+976
Drives on theRight
Data sourcesCIA, Wikipedia
Table last updatedJune 7, 2017