30+ Interesting Facts About Mongolia

  1. Mongolia is a landlocked country in East Asia, which shares borders with Russia on the north and China on the south. A narrow strip separates the central Asian country Kazakhstan from Mongolia.
  2. Mongolia is the most sparsely populated sovereign country in the world. Its population density is just over two people per square km. (Source)
  3. Mongolia is the second largest landlocked country after Kazakhstan. Its land area is more than 600,000 square miles.
  4. Mongolia experiences the long cold winters, while the short summer season remains very hot in some areas.
  5. Nearly 75% area of Mongolia is pastureland. The Gobi Desert is in the southern part of the country (Mongolia shares this desert with China), and the remaining is forests. Only a small portion of the country is suitable for crop growing.
  6. Ulaanbaatar is the Mongolia’s capital city. Nearly 50% of the Mongolian population resides in the capital.
  7. Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, is the world’s coldest capital city. Its average annual temperature is -2.4 C, far lower than any other capital city. (Source)
  8. Gers or Yurts are the traditional dome-shaped dwellings in Mongolia. Many Mongolians still live in these tent-like houses, which now include wooden floors, doors, stoves, electricity, and other modern comforts of home. 
    A ger (or yurt) in Mongolian ger district
    Mongolian gers now include all modern facilities

  9. Mongol Empire, established by Genghis Khan in 1206, is the second-biggest empire after the British Empire and the largest contiguous land empire in history. During its peak, this empire ruled from Eastern Europe to the Sea of Japan and the Middle East. (Source)
  10. Nearly 53% of Mongolians follow Buddhism, while 39% are atheists. Islam, Christianity, and Shamanism (the former majority religion) are minority religions.
  11. Bogd Khan Uul National Park in Mongolia is the world’s oldest national park. It was established in 1778, more than 100 years before the second-oldest Yellowstone National Park (1872), and covers an area of 156 sq. miles. (Source)
  12. Mongolia faces the dzud natural disaster, specific to the country, after every five years. Millions of animals die due to a weather pattern that produces starvation in summer, followed by a harsh winter. They have not found a remedy to overcome this issue yet. (Source)
  13. Chinese Qing dynasty captured the current state of Mongolia in 1691. Mongolia achieved autonomy under Chinese rule in 1911 and complete independence in 1921 with Soviet assistance.
  14. The country became the Mongolian People’s Republic in 1924 and adopted communism. It remained a single-party socialist republic under the influence of the Soviet Union until the late 1980s.
  15. A peaceful democratic revolution in 1990 converted the country into a multi-party system and eradicated Soviet influence. It resulted in a new constitution in 1992.
  16. Mongols are still giving importance to their nomadic lifestyle. Currently, almost 30% of the Mongols are nomads.
  17. Around 90% of the Mongolian population is ethnic Mongol, especially Khalkha Mongol. Minority ethnicities are Kazakhs and Tuvans.
  18. Mongolia has among the best Forest Landscape Integrity Index (FLII) scores. Most of its forests are high or medium integrity.
  19. Gold, coal, copper, and iron ore are the top exports of Mongolia. However, it is the world’s largest exporter of animal hair. (Source)
  20. China is the importer of 90% of Mongolia’s exports, particularly minerals. Other major trade and economic partners are Russia, Canada, and Switzerland.
  21. Tavan Tolgoi is one of the world’s largest untapped coal deposits. Utilizing these coal reserves can make Mongolia one of the top coal exporters. (Source)
  22. The trans-Mongolian railway connects Mongolia’s neighbors, China and Russia. This railway system passes almost entirely through Mongolia and joins border areas of Russia and China.
  23. The most famous sports festival in Mongolia is Naadam. It organizes annually and includes archery, horseracing, and wrestling. All these sports have traditional links to the Mongol nomadic lifestyle.
  24. Mongolia has participated in almost all Summer Olympic Games since 1964. During these games, the country has won two gold medals (one in judo and the other in boxing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics) until now. It won the most medals in judo (11) and wrestling (10).
  25. A Mongolian sumo wrestler won the highest number of grand tournaments and most victories in a year. Hakuho retired after competing for two decades in Japanese sumo. (Source
    Two sheep standing
    Mongolia has 4.5 times more sheep than humans

  26. Mongolia has the highest number of sheep per capita in the world. There are 4.5 sheep per human in this East Asian country. (Source)
  27. The Gobi Desert in Mongolia is the largest reservoir of dinosaur fossils. In the past 100 years, paleontologists have discovered over 80 genera of dinosaur fossils from more than 60 sites inside the Mongolian part of the Gobi Desert. (Source)
  28. The first-ever dinosaur eggs were discovered in Mongolia in 1923. Later studies found that these eggs belonged to Oviraptor. (Source)
  29. Przewalski’s horse is the only true wild extant horse in the world. Their highest population is in Mongolia, where they are known as “takhi” (spirit).
  30. Mongolia has the lowest percentage of paved roads in Asia and one of the least in the world. Around 4% of roads in Mongolia are paved.
  31. The domestication of Bactrian camels started thousands of years ago in Mongolia and its adjacent areas for transportation. Mongolia now holds a two-day camel festival in which herders from across the Gobi Desert participate. Its official name is the Thousand Camel Festival. (Source)
  32. There are around 6 million Mongols in China, far more than the Mongols living in Mongolia. These Chinese Mongols primarily reside in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), bordering Mongolia and Russia.
  33. Mongolians prefer additional children due to the scarcity of population. Therefore, women with five or more children are considered “honored mothers.”

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