Mongolia /mɒŋˈɡoʊliə/ ( listen) (Monggol Ulus in
Mongolian; Монгол Улс in Mongolian Cyrillic) is a landlocked
unitary sovereign state in East Asia. Its area is roughly equivalent
with the historical territory of Outer Mongolia, and that term is
sometimes used to refer to the current state. It is sandwiched between
China to the south and
Russia to the north.
Mongolia does not share a
border with Kazakhstan, although only 37 kilometres (23 mi)
At 1,564,116 square kilometres (603,909 sq mi),
the 18th largest and the most sparsely populated fully sovereign
country in the world, with a population of around 3 million people. It
is also the world's second-largest landlocked country behind
Kazakhstan and the largest landlocked country that does not border a
closed sea. The country contains very little arable land, as much of
its area is covered by grassy steppe, with mountains to the north and
west and the
Gobi Desert to the south. Ulaanbaatar, the capital and
largest city, is home to about 45% of the country's population.
Approximately 30% of the population is nomadic or semi-nomadic; horse
culture is still integral. The majority of its population are
Buddhists. The non-religious population is the second largest group.
Islam is the dominant religion among ethnic Kazakhs. The majority of
the state's citizens are of
Mongol ethnicity, although Kazakhs,
Tuvans, and other minorities also live in the country, especially in
Mongolia joined the
World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization in 1997 and
seeks to expand its participation in regional economic and trade
The area of what is now
Mongolia has been ruled by various nomadic
empires, including the Xiongnu, the Xianbei, the Rouran, the Turkic
Khaganate, and others. In 1206,
Genghis Khan founded the Mongol
Empire, which became the largest contiguous land empire in history.
Kublai Khan conquered
China to establish the Yuan
dynasty. After the collapse of the Yuan, the
Mongols retreated to
Mongolia and resumed their earlier pattern of factional conflict,
except during the era of
Dayan Khan and Tumen Zasagt Khan.
In the 16th century, Tibetan
Buddhism began to spread in Mongolia,
being further led by the Manchu-founded Qing dynasty, which absorbed
the country in the 17th century. By the early 1900s, almost one-third
of the adult male population were
Buddhist monks. After the
collapse of the
Qing dynasty in 1911,
Mongolia declared independence
from the Qing dynasty, and in 1921 established de facto independence
Republic of China. Shortly thereafter, the country came under
the control of the Soviet Union, which had aided its independence from
China. In 1924, the Mongolian People's
Republic was declared as a
Soviet satellite state. After the anti-Communist revolutions of
Mongolia conducted its own peaceful democratic revolution in
early 1990. This led to a multi-party system, a new constitution of
1992, and transition to a market economy.
1.1 Prehistory and antiquity
1.2 Middle Ages to early 20th century
1.3 Modern history
2 Geography and climate
4 Government and politics
4.1 Foreign relations
4.3 Legal system
4.4 Administrative divisions
4.5 Major cities
5.1 Mineral industry
8.1 Visual arts
9 See also
11 Further reading
12 External links
Main article: History of Mongolia
Prehistory and antiquity
Prehistoric Mongolia and Proto-Mongols
Homo erectus inhabited
Mongolia from 850,000 years ago. Modern
Mongolia approximately 40,000 years ago during the
Upper Paleolithic. The Khoit Tsenkher Cave in
Khovd Province shows
lively pink, brown, and red ochre paintings (dated to 20,000 years
ago) of mammoths, lynx, bactrian camels, and ostriches, earning it the
Lascaux of Mongolia". The venus figurines of Mal'ta
(21,000 years ago) testify to the level of
Upper Paleolithic art in
northern Mongolia; Mal'ta is now part of Russia.
Pasture land in Arkhangai Province.
Mongolia was the heartland of many
Mongolian ordos (palaces) were likened to "cities on the move" (Plano
Neolithic agricultural settlements (c. 5500–3500 BC), such as those
at Norovlin, Tamsagbulag, Bayanzag, and Rashaan Khad, predated the
introduction of horse-riding nomadism, a pivotal event in the history
Mongolia which became the dominant culture. Horse-riding nomadism
has been documented by archeological evidence in
Mongolia during the
Copper and Bronze Age
Afanasevo culture (3500–2500 BC); this culture
was active to the
Khangai Mountains in Central Mongolia. The wheeled
vehicles found in the burials of the Afanasevans have been dated to
before 2200 BC. Pastoral nomadism and metalworking became more
developed with the later
Okunev culture (2nd millennium BC), Andronovo
culture (2300–1000 BC) and
Karasuk culture (1500–300 BC),
culminating with the Iron Age
Xiongnu Empire in 209 BC. Monuments of
Xiongnu Bronze Age include deer stones, keregsur kurgans,
square slab tombs, and rock paintings.
Although cultivation of crops has continued since the Neolithic,
agriculture has always remained small in scale compared to pastoral
nomadism. Agriculture may have first been introduced from the west or
arose independently in the region. The population during the Copper
Age has been described as mongoloid in the east of what is now
Mongolia, and as europoid in the west. Tocharians (Yuezhi) and
Scythians inhabited western
Mongolia during the Bronze Age. The mummy
of a Scythian warrior, which is believed to be about 2,500 years old,
was a 30- to 40-year-old man with blond hair; it was found in the
Altai, Mongolia. As horse nomadism was introduced into Mongolia,
the political center of the Eurasian
Steppe also shifted to Mongolia,
where it remained until the 18th century CE. The intrusions of
northern pastoralists (e.g. the Guifang, Shanrong, and Donghu) into
China during the
Shang dynasty (1600–1046 BC) and Zhou dynasty
(1046–256 BC) presaged the age of nomadic empires.
The concept of
Mongolia as an independent power north of
expressed in a letter sent by
Emperor Wen of Han
Emperor Wen of Han to
Laoshang Chanyu in
162 BC (recorded in the Hanshu):
The Emperor of
China respectfully salutes the great Shan Yu (Chanyu)
of the Hsiung-nu (Xiongnu)...When my imperial predecessor erected the
Great Wall, all the bowmen nations on the north were subject to the
Shan Yu; while the residents inside the wall, who wore the cap and
sash, were all under our government: and the myriads of the people, by
following their occupations, ploughing and weaving, shooting and
hunting, were able to provide themselves with food and clothing...Your
letter says:--"The two nations being now at peace, and the two princes
living in harmony, military operations may cease, the troops may send
their horses to graze, and prosperity and happiness prevail from age
to age, commencing, a new era of contentment and peace." That is
extremely gratifying to me...Should I, in concert with the Shan Yu,
follow this course, complying with the will of heaven, then compassion
for the people will be transmitted from age to age, and extended to
unending generations, while the universe will be moved with
admiration, and the influence will be felt by neighbouring kingdoms
inimical to the Chinese or the Hsiung-nu...As the Hsiung-nu live in
the northern regions, where the cold piercing atmosphere comes at an
early period, I have ordered the proper authorities to transmit yearly
to the Shan Yu, a certain amount of grain, gold, silks of the finer
and coarser kinds, and other objects. Now peace prevails all over the
world; the myriads of the population are living in harmony, and I and
the Shan Yu alone are the parents of the people...After the conclusion
of the treaty of peace throughout the world, take notice, the Han will
not be the first to transgress.
7th-century finds found 180 km (112 mi) from Ulaanbaatar.
Kept in Ulaanbaatar. A constant theme in Mongolian history is its
relations with China.
Since prehistoric times,
Mongolia has been inhabited by nomads who,
from time to time, formed great confederations that rose to power and
prominence. Common institutions were the office of the Khan, the
Kurultai (Supreme Council), left and right wings, imperial army
(Keshig) and the decimal military system. The first of these empires,
Xiongnu of undetermined ethnicity, were brought together by Modu
Shanyu to form a confederation in 209 BC. Soon they emerged as the
greatest threat to the Qin Dynasty, forcing the latter to construct
the Great Wall of China. It was guarded by up to almost 300,000
soldiers during marshal Meng Tian's tenure, as a means of defense
against the destructive
Xiongnu raids. The vast
Xiongnu empire (209
BC–93 AD) was followed by the Mongolic
Xianbei empire (93–234 AD),
which also ruled more than the entirety of present-day Mongolia. The
Rouran Khaganate (330–555), of
Xianbei provenance was the
first to use "Khagan" as an imperial title. It ruled a massive empire
before being defeated by the
Göktürks (555–745) whose empire was
Göktürks laid siege to Panticapaeum, present-day Kerch, in 576.
They were succeeded by the
Uyghur Khaganate (745–840) who were
defeated by the Kyrgyz. The Mongolic Khitans, descendants of the
Mongolia during the
Liao Dynasty (907–1125), after
which the Khamag
Mongol (1125–1206) rose to prominence.
Lines 3–5 of the memorial inscription of
Bilge Khagan (684–737) in
Mongolia summarizes the time of the Khagans:
In battles they subdued the nations of all four sides of the world and
suppressed them. They made those who had heads bow their heads, and
who had knees genuflect them. In the east up to the Kadyrkhan common
people, in the west up to the Iron Gate they conquered... These
Khagans were wise. These Khagans were great. Their servants were wise
and great too. Officials were honest and direct with people. They
ruled the nation this way. This way they held sway over them. When
they died ambassadors from Bokuli Cholug (Baekje Korea), Tabgach (Tang
China), Tibet (Tibetan Empire), Avar (Avar Khaganate),
Empire), Kirgiz, Uch-Kurykan, Otuz-Tatars, Khitans, Tatabis came to
the funerals. So many people came to mourn over the great Khagans.
They were famous Khagans.
Middle Ages to early 20th century
Mongolia under Yuan rule, Northern Yuan
dynasty, Dzungar Khanate, and
Mongolia under Qing rule
See also: List of medieval
Mongol tribes and clans, List of Mongol
states, and List of
This map shows the boundary of the 13th-century
Mongol Empire compared
to today's Mongols. The red area shows where the majority of Mongolian
speakers reside today.
The Northern Yuan at its greatest extent.
In the chaos of the late 12th century, a chieftain named Temüjin
finally succeeded in uniting the
Mongol tribes between
the Altai Mountains. In 1206, he took the title Genghis Khan, and
waged a series of military campaigns – renowned for their brutality
and ferocity – sweeping through much of Asia, and forming the Mongol
Empire, the largest contiguous land empire in world history. Under his
successors it stretched from present-day
Poland in the west to Korea
in the east, and from
Siberia in the north to the
Gulf of Oman
Gulf of Oman and
Vietnam in the south, covering some 33,000,000 square kilometres
(13,000,000 sq mi), (22% of Earth's total land area) and
having a population of over 100 million people (about a quarter of
Earth's total population at the time). The emergence of Pax Mongolica
also significantly eased trade and commerce across
Asia during its
After Genghis Khan's death, the empire was subdivided into four
kingdoms or Khanates. These eventually became quasi-independent after
Toluid Civil War
Toluid Civil War (1260–1264), which broke out in a battle for
power following Möngke Khan's death in 1259. One of the khanates, the
"Great Khaanate", consisting of the
Mongol homeland and China, became
known as the
Yuan dynasty under Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis
Khan. He set up his capital in present-day Beijing. After more than a
century of power, the Yuan was replaced by the
Ming dynasty in 1368,
Mongol court fled to the north. As the Ming armies pursued the
Mongols into their homeland, they successfully sacked and destroyed
Karakorum among a few other cities. Some of these
attacks were repelled by the
Mongols under Ayushridar and his general
Köke Temür.
Altan Khan (1507–1582) founded the city of Hohhot, helped introduce
Buddhism and originated the title of Dalai Lama
Castle built in northern
Tsogt Taij in 1601.
Tövkhön Monastery built in 1653 by Zanabazar. Here he created the
Soyombo script in 1686.
After the expulsion of the
Yuan dynasty rulers from China, the Mongols
continued to rule
Mongolia homeland, known as the Northern Yuan
dynasty. The next centuries were marked by violent power struggles
among various factions, notably the Genghisids and the non-Genghisid
Oirats, as well as by several Chinese invasions (such as the five
expeditions led by the Yongle Emperor). In the early 15th century, the
Esen Tayisi gained the upper hand, and raided
1449 in a conflict over Esen's right to pay tribute, capturing the
Ming emperor in the process. When Esen was murdered in 1454, the
Borjigids regained power.
In the early 16th century,
Dayan Khan and his khatun Mandukhai
reunited the entire
Mongol nation under the Genghisids. In the
Altan Khan of the Tümed, a grandson of Dayan Khan
– but not a hereditary or legitimate Khan – became powerful. He
Hohhot in 1557. After he met with the
Dalai Lama in 1578, he
ordered the introduction of Tibetan
Buddhism to Mongolia. (It was the
second time this had occurred). Abtai Khan of the
Khalkha converted to
Buddhism and founded the
Erdene Zuu monastery in 1585. His grandson
Zanabazar became the first
Jebtsundamba Khutughtu in 1640. Following
the leaders, the entire Mongolian population embraced Buddhism. Each
family kept scriptures and Buddha statues on an altar at the north
side of their ger (yurt). Mongolian nobles donated land, money and
herders to the monasteries. As was typical in states with established
religions, the top religious institutions, the monasteries, wielded
significant temporal power in addition to spiritual power.[citation
An image of an early 20th-century Oirat caravan, traveling on
horseback, possibly to trade goods.
Mongol Khan was
Ligden Khan in the early 17th century. He
came into conflicts with the Manchus over the looting of Chinese
cities, and also alienated most
Mongol tribes. He died in 1634. By
1636 most Inner Mongolian tribes had submitted to the Manchus, who
founded the Qing dynasty. The
Khalkha eventually submitted to Qing
rule in 1691, thus bringing all of today's
Mongolia under Manchu rule.
After several wars, the
Dzungars (the western
Mongols or Oirats) were
virtually annihilated during the Qing conquest of Dzungaria in
Some scholars estimate that about 80% of the 600,000 or more Dzungar
were destroyed by a combination of disease and warfare. Outer
Mongolia was given relative autonomy, being administered by the
hereditary Genghisid khanates of Tusheet Khan, Setsen Khan, Zasagt
Khan and Sain Noyon Khan. The
Jebtsundamba Khutuktu of
immense de facto authority. The Manchu forbade mass Chinese
immigration into the area, which allowed the
Mongols to keep their
The main trade route during this period was the Tea Road through
Siberia; it had permanent stations located every 25 to 30 kilometres
(16 to 19 mi), each of which was staffed by 5–30 chosen
families. Urga (present-day Ulaanbaatar) benefited greatly from this
overland trade, as it was the only major settlement in Outer Mongolia
used as a stopover point by merchants, officials and travelers on the
Tea Road.
Until 1911, the
Qing dynasty maintained control of
Mongolia with a
series of alliances and intermarriages, as well as military and
economic measures. Ambans, Manchu "high officials", were installed in
Khüree, Uliastai, and Khovd, and the country was subdivided into
numerous feudal and ecclesiastical fiefdoms (which also placed people
in power with loyalty to the Qing). Over the course of the 19th
century, the feudal lords attached more importance to representation
and less importance to the responsibilities towards their subjects.
The behaviour of Mongolia's nobility, together with usurious practices
by Chinese traders and the collection of imperial taxes in silver
instead of animals, resulted in poverty among the nomads becoming
widespread. By 1911 there were 700 large and small monasteries in
Outer Mongolia; their 115,000 monks made up 21% of the population.
Apart from the Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, there were 13 other
reincarnating high lamas, called 'seal-holding saints' (tamgatai
khutuktu), in Outer Mongolia.
Main articles: Mongolian Revolution of 1911,
Mongolian Revolution of 1921, Mongolian People's Republic, 1990
Democratic Revolution in Mongolia, and History of modern Mongolia
The eighth Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, Bogd Khaan
With the fall of the
Qing dynasty in 1911,
Mongolia under the Bogd
Khaan declared independence. But, the newly established
Mongolia to be part of its own territory. Yuan
Shikai, the President of the
Republic of China, considered the new
republic to be the successor of the Qing.
Bogd Khaan said that both
China had been administered by the Manchu during the
Qing, and after the fall of the
Qing dynasty in 1911, the contract of
Mongolian submission to the Manchu had become invalid.
The area controlled by the
Bogd Khaan was approximately that of the
Outer Mongolia during the Qing period. In 1919, after the
October Revolution in Russia, Chinese troops led by Xu Shuzheng
occupied Mongolia. Warfare erupted on the northern border. As a result
of the Russian Civil War, the White Russian
Lieutenant General Baron
Ungern led his troops into
Mongolia in October 1920, defeating the
Chinese forces in Niislel Khüree (Ulaanbaatar) in early February 1921
with support by Mongols.
To eliminate the threat posed by Ungern, Bolshevik
Russia decided to
support establishing a communist Mongolian government and army. This
Mongolian army took the Mongolian part of
Kyakhta from Chinese forces
on March 18, 1921, and on July 6 Russian and Mongolian troops arrived
Mongolia declared its independence again on July 11,
1921. As a result,
Mongolia was closely aligned with the Soviet
Union over the next seven decades.
In 1924, after the
Bogd Khaan died of laryngeal cancer or, as some
sources claim, at the hands of Russian spies, the country's
political system was changed. The Mongolian People's
established. In 1928,
Khorloogiin Choibalsan rose to power. The early
leaders of the Mongolian People's
Republic (1921–1952) were not
communists and many of them were Pan-Mongolists. The Soviet Union
forcefully established a communist regime in
Mongolia by later
exterminating Pan-Mongolists. In the 1960s, Soviets recognized the
Mongolian People's Party
Mongolian People's Party as "real" communists, who took power after
the suspicious death of Pan-Mongolist leader Choibalsan.
Khorloogiin Choibalsan instituted collectivisation of livestock, began
the destruction of the
Buddhist monasteries, and carried out the
Stalinist repressions in Mongolia, which resulted in the murders of
numerous monks and other leaders. In
Mongolia during the 1920s,
approximately one-third of the male population were monks. By the
beginning of the 20th century, about 750 monasteries were functioning
Buryats migration to the Mongolian People's
Republic to prevent Mongolian reunification. All leaders of Mongolia
who did not fulfill Russian demands to perform terror against
Mongolians were executed by Russians, including
Peljidiin Genden and
Anandyn Amar. The Stalinist purges in Mongolia, which began in 1937,
killed more than 30,000 people. Choibalsan died suspiciously in Russia
Bohumír Šmeral said, "People of Mongolia
are not important, the land is important. Mongolian land is larger
than England, France and Germany".
After the Japanese invasion of neighboring
Manchuria in 1931, Mongolia
was threatened on this front. During the Soviet-Japanese Border War of
Soviet Union successfully defended
Mongolia against Japanese
Mongolia fought against
Japan during the Battles of
Khalkhin Gol in 1939 and during the
Soviet–Japanese War in August
1945 to liberate Southern
Japan and China.
The February 1945
Yalta Conference provided for the Soviet Union's
participation in the Pacific War. One of the Soviet conditions for its
participation, put forward at Yalta, was that after the war Outer
Mongolia would retain its independence. The referendum took place on
October 20, 1945, with (according to official numbers) 100% of the
electorate voting for independence.
After the establishment of the People's
Republic of China, both
countries confirmed their mutual recognition on October 6, 1949.
China used its Security Council veto in 1955,
to stop the admission of the Mongolian People's
Republic to the United
Nations on the grounds it recognized all of
Outer Mongolia— as part of China. This was the only time the
China ever used its veto. Hence, and because of the
repeated threats to veto by the ROC,
Mongolia did not join the UN
until 1961 when the
Soviet Union agreed to lift its veto on the
Mauritania (and any other newly independent African
state), in return for the admission of Mongolia. Faced with pressure
from nearly all the other African countries, the ROC relented under
Mauritania were both admitted to the UN on 27
October 1961. (see
China and the United Nations)
On January 26, 1952,
Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal took power in Mongolia.
While Tsedenbal was visiting
Moscow in August 1984, his severe illness
prompted the parliament to announce his retirement and replace him
with Jambyn Batmönkh.
The collapse of the
Soviet Union in 1989 strongly influenced Mongolian
politics and youth. Its people undertook the peaceful Democratic
Revolution in 1990 and the introduction of a multi-party system and a
A new constitution was introduced in 1992, and the "People's Republic"
was dropped from the country's name. The transition to market economy
has often been rocky; during the early 1990s the country had to deal
with high inflation and food shortages. The first
election victories for non-communist parties came in 1993
(presidential elections) and 1996 (parliamentary elections).
supported Mongolia's application for membership in to the Asia
Cooperation Dialogue (ACD),
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
and granting it observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation
Geography and climate
Main article: Geography of Mongolia
The southern portion of
Mongolia is taken up by the Gobi Desert, while
the northern and western portions are mountainous.
Khentii Mountains in Terelj, close to the birthplace of Genghis
At 1,564,116 km2 (603,909 sq mi),
Mongolia is the
world's 19th-largest country (after Iran). It is significantly
larger than the next-largest country, Peru. It mostly lies between
latitudes 41° and 52°N (a small area is north of 52°), and
longitudes 87° and 120°E. As a point of reference the northernmost
Mongolia is on roughly the same latitude as
and Amsterdam (Netherlands), while the southernmost part is on roughly
the same latitude as
Rome (Italy) and Chicago (USA). The westernmost
Mongolia is on roughly the same longitude as Kolkata (India),
while the easternmost part is on the same longitude as Qinhuangdao
(China) and Hangzhou (China), as well as the western edge of Taiwan.
Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its
westernmost point is only 36.76 kilometres (22.84 mi) from
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 the
Mongolian-Manchurian grassland steppe, with
forested areas comprising 11.2% of the total land area, a higher
percentage than the
Republic of Ireland (10%). The whole of
Mongolia is considered to be part of the Mongolian Plateau. 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 basin of
the Uvs Lake, shared with Tuva
Republic in Russia, is a natural World
Main article: Climate of Mongolia
Mongolia is 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.
Mongolia map of Köppen climate classification.
Riverine forest of the
Tuul River near Ulaanbaatar.
Uvs Lake, a World Heritage Site, is the remnant of a saline sea.
Most of the country is hot in the summer and extremely cold in the
winter, with January averages dropping as low as −30 °C
(−22 °F). A vast front of cold, heavy, shallow air comes
Siberia in winter and collects in river valleys and low basins
causing very cold temperatures while slopes of mountains are much
warmer due to the effects of temperature inversion (temperature
increases with altitude).
In winter the whole of
Mongolia comes under the influence of the
Siberian Anticyclone. The localities most severely affected by this
cold weather are Uvs province (Ulaangom), western Khovsgol
(Rinchinlhumbe), eastern Zavkhan (Tosontsengel), northern Bulgan
(Hutag) and eastern Dornod province (Khalkhiin Gol).
also strongly affected but not as severely. The cold gets less severe
as one goes south, reaching the warmest January temperatures in
Omnogovi Province (Dalanzadgad, Khanbogd) and the region of the Altai
mountains bordering China. A unique microclimate is the fertile
grassland-forest region of central and eastern Arkhangai Province
(Tsetserleg) and northern Ovorkhangai Province (Arvaikheer) where
January temperatures are on average the same and often higher than the
warmest desert regions to the south in addition to being more stable.
Khangai Mountains play a certain role in forming this
microclimate. In Tsetserleg, the warmest town in this microclimate,
nighttime January temperatures rarely go under −30 °C
(−22 °F) while daytime January temperatures often reach
0 °C (32 °F) to 5 °C (41 °F) .
The country is subject to occasional harsh climatic conditions known
as zud. The annual average temperature in
−1.3 °C/29.7 °F, making it the world's coldest capital
Mongolia is high, cold, and windy. It has an extreme
continental climate with long, cold winters and short summers, during
which most of its annual precipitation falls. The country averages 257
cloudless days a year, and it is usually at the center of a region of
high atmospheric pressure. Precipitation is highest in the north
(average of 200 to 350 millimeters (7.9 to 13.8 in) per year) and
lowest in the south, which receives 100 to 200 millimeters (3.9 to
7.9 in) annually. The highest annual precipitation of
622.297 mm (24.50 in) occurred in the forests of Bulgan
Province close to the border with
Russia and the lowest of
41.735 mm (1.64 in) occurred in the
Gobi Desert (period
1961–1990). The sparsely populated far north of Bulgan Province
averages 600 mm (23.62 in) in annual precipitation which
means it receives more precipitation than
Beijing (571.8mm) or Berlin
Main article: Wildlife of Mongolia
See also: Category:Biota of Mongolia
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.
Gobi from desert proper, although the distinction is not always
apparent to outsiders unfamiliar with the Mongolian landscape.
Bactrian camels by sand dunes in Gobi Desert.
Gobi rangelands are fragile and are easily destroyed by overgrazing,
which results in expansion of the true desert, a stony waste where not
Bactrian camels can survive. The arid conditions in the Gobi are
attributed to the rain shadow effect caused by the Himalayas. Before
the Himalayas were formed by the collision of the Indo-Australian
plate with the Eurasian plate 10 million years ago
Mongolia was a
flourishing habitat for major fauna but still somewhat arid and cold
due to distance from sources of evaporation. Sea turtle and mollusk
fossils have been found in the Gobi apart from the more well-known
Tadpole shrimps (Lepidurus mongolicus) are still
found in the Gobi today. The eastern part of
Mongolia including the
Onon, Kherlen rivers and
Lake Buir form part of the
Amur river basin
draining to the Pacific Ocean. It hosts some unique species like the
Eastern brook lamprey, Daurian crayfish (cambaroides dauricus) and
Daurian pearl oyster (dahurinaia dahurica) in the Onon/Kherlen rivers
as well as Siberian prawn (exopalaemon modestus) in Lake Buir.
Main article: Demographics of Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar is the capital and largest city of Mongolia
In settlements, many families live in ger districts
Mongolia's total population as of January 2015 is estimated by U.S.
Census Bureau at 3,000,251 people, ranking at around 121st in the
world in terms of population. But the
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State Bureau
of East Asian and Pacific Affairs uses the United Nations (UN)
estimations instead of the
U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau estimations. United
Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population
Division estimates Mongolia's total population (mid-2007) as
2,629,000 (11% less than the
U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau figure). UN estimates
resemble those made by the Mongolian National Statistical Office
(2,612,900, end of June 2007). Mongolia's population growth rate is
estimated at 1.2% (2007 est.). About 59% of the total population
is under age 30, 27% of whom are under 14. This relatively young and
growing population has placed strains on Mongolia's economy.
The first census in the 20th century was carried out in 1918 and
recorded a population of 647,500. Since the end of socialism,
Mongolia has experienced a decline of total fertility rate (children
per woman) that is steeper than in any other country in the world,
according to recent UN estimations: in 1970–1975, fertility was
estimated to be 7.33 children per woman, dropping to about 2.1 in
2000–2005. Recently, however, that trend has been stopped, so in
2005–2010 period, the estimated fertility value has actually
increased to 2.5 and stabilised afterwards at the rate of about
2.2–2.3 children per woman.
Mongols account for about 95% of the population and consist of
Khalkha and other groups, all distinguished primarily by dialects of
Mongol language. The
Khalkha make up 86% of the ethnic Mongol
population. The remaining 14% include Oirats,
Buryats and others.
Turkic peoples (
Kazakhs and Tuvans) constitute 4.5% of Mongolia's
population, and the rest are Russian, Chinese, Korean and American
Para-Mongolic Khitan inscription dated 1058 found in south-eastern
The official language of
Mongolia is Mongolian, and is spoken by 95%
of the population. A variety of dialects of Oirat and Buryat are
spoken across the country, and there are also some speakers of
Mongolic Khamnigan. In the west of the country, Kazakh and Tuvan, both
Turkic languages, are also spoken.
Mongolian Sign Language is the
principal language of the deaf community.
Today, Mongolian is written using the Cyrillic alphabet, although in
the past it was written using the Mongolian script. An official
reintroduction of the old script was planned for 1994, but has not
taken place as older generations encountered practical
difficulties. The traditional alphabet is being slowly
reintroduced through schools.
Russian is the most frequently spoken foreign language in Mongolia,
followed by English, although English has been gradually replacing
Russian as the second language. Korean has gained popularity as tens
of thousands of Mongolians work in South Korea.
Interest in Chinese, as the language of the other neighbouring power,
has been growing. A number of older educated
Mongolian citizens speak some German, as they studied in the former
East Germany, while a few speak other languages from the former
Eastern Bloc. Many younger people are fluent in the Western European
languages as they study or work in, among other places, Germany,
France and Italy.
Mongolian cuisine is rooted in their nomadic history, and thus
includes a lot of dairy and meat, but little vegetables. Two of the
most popular dishes are
Buuz (a meat filled steamed dumpling) and
Khuushuur (a sort of deep-fried meat pie.)
Religion in Mongolia
Religion in Mongolia and
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion in
Grounds of Dambadarjaalin
Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, with a stupa, in
front of a sacred mount with mantra inscribed on the slope and a
shamanic ovoo on the top.
According to the 2010 National Census, among Mongolians aged 15 and
above, 53% were Buddhists, while 39% were non-religious.
Religions in Mongolia
(population aged 15 and above)
Mongolian shamanism has been widely practised throughout the history
of what is now Mongolia, with similar beliefs being common among the
nomads of central Asia. They gradually gave way to Tibetan Buddhism,
but shamanism has left a mark on Mongolian religious culture, and it
continues to be practiced. The
Kazakhs residing in western Mongolia,
Mongols and other Turkic peoples in the country traditionally
adhere to Islam.
Throughout much of the 20th century, the communist government ensured
that the religious practices of the Mongolian people were largely
repressed. It targeted the clergy of the Mongolian
which had been tightly intertwined with the previous feudal government
structures (e.g. from 1911 on, the head of the Church had also been
the khan of the country). In the late 1930s, the regime, then led
by Khorloogiin Choibalsan, closed almost all of Mongolia's over 700
Buddhist monasteries and killed at least 30,000 people, of whom 18,000
were lamas. The number of
Buddhist monks dropped from 100,000 in
1924 to 110 in 1990.
The fall of communism in 1991 restored public religious practice.
Tibetan Buddhism, which had been the predominant religion prior to the
rise of communism, again rose to become the most widely practised
religion in Mongolia. The end of religious repression in the 1990s
also allowed for other religions to spread in the country. According
to the Christian missionary group Barnabas Fund, the number of
Christians grew from just four in 1989 to around 40,000 as of
2008[update]. In May 2013, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints (LDS Church) held a cultural program to celebrate 20 years of
LDS Church history in Mongolia, with 10,900 members, and 16 church
buildings in the country. There are some 1,000 Catholics in
Mongolia and, in 2003, a missionary from the
Philippines was named
Mongolia's first Catholic bishop.
Government and politics
Main article: Politics of Mongolia
State Great Khural
State Great Khural chamber in session
Mongolia is a semi-presidential representative democratic republic,
where the President is directly elected. The people also
elect the deputies in the national assembly, the State Great Khural.
The President appoints the Prime Minister, and nominates the Cabinet
on the proposal of the prime minister. The constitution of Mongolia
guarantees a number of freedoms, including full freedom of expression
Mongolia has a number of political parties; the largest
Mongolian People's Party
Mongolian People's Party and the Democratic Party. The
Freedom House considers
Mongolia to be
The People's Party – known as the People's Revolutionary Party
between 1924 and 2010 – formed the government of the country from
1921 to 1996 (in a one-party system until 1990) and from 2000 to 2004.
From 2004 to 2006, it was part of a coalition with the Democrats and
two other parties, and after 2006 it was the dominant party in two
other coalitions. The party initiated two changes of government from
2004 until it lost power in a 2012 election. The Democrats were the
dominant force in a ruling coalition between 1996 and 2000, and an
almost-equal partner with the People's Revolutionary Party in a
coalition between 2004 and 2006. An election of deputies to the
national assembly on 28 June 2012 resulted in no party having an
overall majority; however, as the Democratic Party won the largest
number of seats, its leader, Norovyn Altankhuyag, was appointed
prime minister on August 10, 2012. In 2014, he was replaced by
Chimediin Saikhanbileg. The MPP won a landslide victory in the 2016
elections and the current Prime Minister is MPP's Jargaltulgyn
President of Mongolia
President of Mongolia has functions like vetoing the laws made by
parliament, appointing judges and justice of courts and appoint
ambassadors abroad. The parliament can override that veto by a
two-thirds majority vote. Mongolia's constitution provides three
requirements for taking office as president; the candidate must be a
native-born Mongolian, be at least 45 years old, and have resided in
Mongolia for five years before taking office. The president must also
suspend their party membership. Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, a two-time
former prime minister and member of the Democratic Party was elected
as president on May 24, 2009 and inaugurated on June 18 that year.
Elbegdorj was re-elected on June 26, 2013 and was inaugurated on July
10, 2013 for his second term as president.
Mongolia uses a unicameral legislature, The State Great Khural, with
76 seats, which is chaired by the speaker of the house. Its members
are directly elected, every four years, on parliamentary elections, by
Main article: Foreign relations of Mongolia
Mongolia's foreign relations have been traditionally focused on its
two large neighbors,
Russia and the People's
Republic of China.
Mongolia is economically dependent on these countries;
90% of Mongolia's exports by value and accounts for 60% of its foreign
Russia supplies 90% of Mongolia's energy requirements.
It has begun seeking positive relations with a wider range of other
nations especially in cultural and economic matters, focusing on
encouraging foreign investments and trade.
Main article: List of diplomatic missions of Mongolia
Mongolia maintains many diplomatic missions in other countries and has
embassies in the following world capitals:
Mongolian Armed Forces
Mongolian Armed Forces engineers with the 017 Construction Regiment
receive instructions before participating in Khaan Quest 2013 in
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 22, 2013.
Main article: Mongolian Armed Forces
Mongolia supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and has sent several
successive contingents of 103 to 180 troops each to Iraq. About 130
troops are currently deployed in Afghanistan. 200 Mongolian troops are
Sierra Leone on a UN mandate to protect the UN's special
court set up there, and in July 2009,
Mongolia decided to send a
Chad in support of MINURCAT.
From 2005 to 2006, about 40 troops were deployed with the Belgian and
Luxembourg contingents in Kosovo. On November 21, 2005, George W. Bush
became the first-ever sitting U.S. President to visit Mongolia. In
2004, under the Bulgarian chairmanship, the Organization for Security
and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) invited
Mongolia as its newest Asian
Main article: Judiciary of Mongolia
The judiciary of
Mongolia is made up of a three-tiered court system:
first instance courts in each provincial district and each Ulaanbaatar
district; appellate courts for each province and also the Capital
Ulaanbaatar; and the court of last resort (for non-constitutional
matters) at the Supreme
Court of Mongolia. For questions of
constitutional law there is a separate constitutional court.
A Judicial General Council (JGC) nominates judges which must then be
confirmed by the parliament and appointed by the President.
Arbitration centres provide alternative dispute resolution options for
commercial and other disputes.
Provinces of Mongolia
Provinces of Mongolia and Districts of Mongolia
Mongolia is divided into 21 provinces (aimags), which are in turn
divided into 329 districts (sums). The capital
administrated separately as a capital city (municipality) with
provincial status. The aimags are:
Main article: List of cities in Mongolia
About 40% of the population lives in Ulaanbaatar, and in 2002 a
further 23% lived in Darkhan, Erdenet, the aimag centers and sum-level
permanent settlements. Another share of the population lives in
the sum centers.
Largest cities or towns in Mongolia
Main article: Economy of Mongolia
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (August 2016)
High end southern part of
Ulaanbaatar valued for clean air in winter.
Economic activity in
Mongolia has traditionally been based on herding
and agriculture, although development of extensive mineral deposits of
copper, coal, molybdenum, tin, tungsten, and gold have emerged as a
driver of industrial production. Besides mining (21.8% of GDP) and
agriculture (16% of GDP), dominant industries in the composition of
GDP are wholesale and retail trade and service, transportation and
storage, and real estate activities. The grey economy is estimated
to be at least one-third the size of the official economy. As of
2006[update], 68.4% of Mongolia's exports went to the PRC, and the PRC
supplied 29.8% of Mongolia's imports.
Mongolia is ranked as lower middle income economy by the World
Bank. Some 22.4% of the population lives on less than US$1.25 a
day. In 2011, GDP per capita was $3,100. Despite growth, the
proportion of the population below the poverty line was estimated to
be 35.6% in 1998, 36.1% in 2002–2003, and 32.2% in 2006.
Because of a boom in the mining sector,
Mongolia had high growth rates
in 2007 and 2008 (9.9% and 8.9%, respectively). In 2009, sharp
drops in commodity prices and the effects of the global financial
crisis caused the local currency to drop 40% against the U.S. dollar.
Two of the 16 commercial banks were taken into receivership. In
2011, GDP growth was expected to reach 16.4%. However, inflation
continued to erode GDP gains, with an average rate of 12.6% expected
Mongolia at the end of 2011. Although GDP has risen steadily
since 2002 at the rate of 7.5% in an official 2006 estimate, the state
is still working to overcome a sizable trade deficit. The Economist
predicted this trade deficit of 14% of Mongolia's GDP would transform
into a surplus in 2013.
Mongolia was never listed among the emerging market countries until
February 2011 when
Citigroup analysts determined
Mongolia to be one of
the "global growth generating" countries, which are countries with the
most promising growth prospects for 2010–2050. The Mongolian
Stock Exchange, established in 1991 in Ulaanbaatar, is among the
world's smallest stock exchanges by market capitalisation. In
2011, it had 336 companies listed with a total market capitalization
of US$2 billion after quadrupling from US$406 million in
Mongolia made a significant improvement on the ease of doing
business in 2012, moving up to rank 76 compared with 88 last year in
the "Doing Business" report by the International Finance Corporation
Main article: Mining in Mongolia
Oyu Tolgoi employs 18,000 workers and expects to be producing 450,000
tonnes of copper a year by 2020
Minerals represent more than 80% of Mongolia's exports, a proportion
expected to eventually rise to 95%. About 3,000 mining licences have
been issued. Mining is continuing to rise as a major industry of
Mongolia as evidenced by the number of Chinese, Russian and Canadian
firms starting mining businesses in Mongolia.
In 2009, the government negotiated an "investment agreement" with Rio
Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines to develop the
Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold
deposit, the biggest foreign-investment project in Mongolia,
expected to account for one-third of Mongolia's GDP by 2020. In
March 2011, six big mining companies prepared to bid for the Tavan
Tolgoi area, the world's largest untapped coal deposit. According to
Erdenes MGL, the government body in-charge of Tavan Tolgoi,
ArcelorMittal, Vale, Xstrata, U.S. coal miner Peabody, a consortium of
Chinese energy firm Shenhua and Japan's Mitsui & Co, and a
separate consortium of Japanese, South Korean and Russian firms are
the preferred bidders.
Main article: Agriculture in Mongolia
In 2002, about 30% of all households in
Mongolia lived from breeding
livestock. Most herders in
Mongolia follow a pattern of nomadic or
semi-nomadic pastoralism. Due to the severe 2009–2010 winter,
Mongolia lost 9.7 million animals, or 22% of total livestock.
This immediately affected meat prices, which increased twofold; the
GDP dropped 1.6% in 2009.
Main article: Environmental issues in Mongolia
Environmental issues are desertification, deforestation and pollution
due to industrialisation.
See also: Telecommunications in Mongolia
Postal services are provided by state-owned
Mongol Post and 54 other
Mongolia Energy Corporation
Main article: Transportation in Mongolia
Zamyn-Üüd station in Dornogovi aimag
Mongolian horse continues to be revered as the national
symbol, they are fast being replaced by motorized vehicles.
Mongolian ferry Sukhbaatar on
Lake Khovsgol in Khovsgol Province.
Trans-Mongolian Railway is the main rail link between
its neighbors. It begins at the
Trans-Siberian Railway in
the town of Ulan-Ude, crosses into Mongolia, runs through Ulaanbaatar,
then passes into
Erenhot where it joins the Chinese railway
system. A separate railroad link connects the eastern city of
Choibalsan with the Trans-Siberian Railway. However, that link is
closed to passengers after the Mongolian town of Chuluunkhoroot.
Mongolia has a number of domestic airports with some of them having
international status. However, the main international airport is
Chinggis Khaan International Airport, located approximately 20 km
(12 mi) from downtown Ulaanbaatar. Direct flight connections
Mongolia and South Korea, China, Thailand, Hong Kong,
Japan, Russia, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkey. MIAT Mongolian
Airlines is Mongolia's national air carrier operating international
flights, while other domestic air carriers such as Aero
Hunnu Airlines are serving both domestic and regional routes.
Many overland roads in
Mongolia are only gravel roads or simple
cross-country tracks. There are paved roads from
Ulaanbaatar to the
Russian and Chinese borders, from
Ulaanbaatar east- and westward (the
so-called Millenium Road), and from Darkhan to Bulgan. A number of
road construction projects are currently underway.
4,800 km of paved roads, with 1,800 km of that total
completed in 2013 alone.
During the state socialist period, education was one of the areas of
significant achievement in Mongolia. Before the People's Republic,
literacy rates were below one percent. By 1952, illiteracy was
virtually eliminated, in part through the use of seasonal boarding
schools for children of nomadic families. Funding to these boarding
schools was cut in the 1990s, contributing to slightly increased
Primary and secondary education formerly lasted 10 years, but was
expanded to 11 years. Since the 2008–2009 school year, new
first-graders are using the 12-year system, and a full transition to
the 12-year system will not occur until the 2019–2020 school year,
when the current third-graders graduate.
As of 2006[update], English is taught in all secondary schools across
Mongolia, beginning in fourth grade.
Mongolian national universities are all spin-offs from the National
Mongolia and the Mongolian University of Science and
Technology. Almost three in five Mongolian youths now enroll in
university. There was a six-fold increase in students between 1993 and
Since 1990, key health indicators like life expectancy and infant and
child mortality have steadily improved, both due to social changes and
to improvement in the health sector. Yet, adult health deteriorated
during the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century and
mortality rates increased significantly.
Serious problems remain, especially in the countryside. According
to a 2011 study by the World Health Organization, Mongolia's capital
Ulaanbaatar has the second-most fine particle pollution of any
city in the world. Poor air quality is also the largest
occupational hazard, as over two-thirds of occupational disease in
Mongolia is dust induced chronic bronchitis or pneumoconiosis.
Average childbirth (fertility rate) is around 2.25–1.87 per
woman (2007) and average life expectancy is 68.5 years (2011).
Infant mortality is at 1.9% to 4% and child mortality is at
Mongolia has the highest rate of liver cancer in the world by a
The health sector comprises 17 specialized hospitals and centers, 4
regional diagnostic and treatment centers, 9 district and 21 aimag
general hospitals, 323 soum hospitals, 18 feldsher posts, 233 family
group practices, 536 private hospitals, and 57 drug supply
companies/pharmacies. In 2002, the total number of health workers was
33,273, of whom 6823 were doctors, 788 pharmacists, 7802 nurses, and
14,091 mid-level personnel. At present, there are 27.7 physicians and
75.7 hospital beds per 10,000 inhabitants.
Main article: Culture of Mongolia
The symbol in the left bar of the national flag is a
called Soyombo. It represents the sun, moon, stars, and heavens per
standard cosmological symbology abstracted from that seen in
traditional thangka paintings.
Sita (White) Tara by Öndör Gegeen Zanabazar. Mongolia, 17th century
Before the 20th century, most works of the fine arts in
Mongolia had a
religious function, and therefore Mongolian fine arts were heavily
influenced by religious texts.
Thangkas were usually painted or
made in applique technique. Bronze sculptures usually showed Buddhist
deities. A number of great works are attributed to the first
Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, Zanabazar.
In the late 19th century, painters like "Marzan" Sharav turned to more
realistic painting styles. Under the Mongolian People's Republic,
socialist realism was the dominant painting style, however
traditional thangka-like paintings dealing with secular, nationalist
themes were also popular, a genre known as "
Among the first attempts to introduce modernism into the fine arts of
Mongolia was the painting Ehiin setgel (Mother's love) created by
Tsevegjav in the 1960s. The artist was purged as his work was
All forms of fine arts flourished only after "Perestroika" in the late
Otgonbayar Ershuu is arguably one of the most well-known
Mongolian modern artists in the Western world, he was portrayed in the
film "ZURAG" by Tobias Wulff.
Main article: Architecture of Mongolia
A ger in front of the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains
The traditional Mongolian dwelling is known as a ger. In the past it
was known by the Russian term yurt, but this is changing as the
Mongolian term becomes better known among English-speaking countries.
According to Mongolian artist and art critic N. Chultem, the ger was
the basis for development of traditional Mongolian architecture. In
the 16th and 17th centuries, lamaseries were built throughout the
country. Many of them started as ger-temples. When they needed to be
enlarged to accommodate the growing number of worshippers, the
Mongolian architects used structures with 6 and 12
angles[clarification needed] with pyramidal roofs to approximate to
the round shape of a ger. Further enlargement led to a quadratic shape
of the temples. The roofs were made in the shape of marquees. The
trellis walls, roof poles and layers of felt were replaced by stone,
brick, beams and planks, and became permanent.
Chultem distinguished three styles in traditional Mongolian
architecture: Mongolian, Tibetan and Chinese as well as combinations
of the three. Among the first quadratic temples was Batu-Tsagaan
(1654) designed by Zanabazar. An example of the ger-style architecture
is the lamasery Dashi-Choiling in Ulaanbaatar. The temple Lavrin (18th
century) in the
Erdene Zuu lamasery was built in the Tibetan
tradition. An example of a temple built in the Chinese tradition is
the lamasery Choijing Lamiin Sume (1904), which is a museum today. The
quadratic temple Tsogchin in lamasery Gandan in
Ulaanbaatar is a
combination of the Mongolian and Chinese tradition. The temple of
Maitreya (disassembled in 1938) is an example of the Tibeto-Mongolian
architecture. Dashi-Choiling monastery has commenced a project to
restore the temple and the 25 metres (82 ft) sculpture of
Main article: Music of Mongolia
Musician playing the traditional Mongolian musical instrument morin
The music of
Mongolia is strongly influenced by nature, nomadism,
shamanism, and also Tibetan Buddhism. The traditional music includes a
variety of instruments, famously the morin khuur, and also the singing
styles like the urtyn duu ("long song"), and throat-singing (khoomei).
The "tsam" is danced to keep away evil spirits and it was seen the
reminiscences of shamaning.
The first rock band of
Mongolia was Soyol Erdene, founded in the
1960s. Their Beatles-like manner was severely criticized by the
Communist censorship. It was followed by Mungunhurhree, Ineemseglel,
Urgoo, etc., carving out the path for the genre in the harsh
environment of Communist ideology. Mungunhurhree and
Haranga were to
become the pioneers in the Mongolia's heavy rock music. Haranga
approached its zenith in the late 1980s and 1990s.
The leader of Haranga, famous guitarist Enh-Manlai, generously helped
the growth of the following generations of rockers. Among the
Haranga was the band Hurd. In the early 1990s, group
Har-Chono put the beginning for Mongolia's folk-rock, merging elements
of the Mongolian traditional "long song" into the genre.
By that time, the environment for development of artistic thought had
become largely liberal thanks to the new democratic society in the
country. The 1990s saw development of rap, techno, hip-hop and also
boy bands and girl bands flourish at the turn of the millennium.
Main article: Media of Mongolia
Mongolian media interviewing the opposition Mongolian Green Party. The
media has gained significant freedoms since democratic reforms
initiated in the 1990s.
Mongolian press began in 1920 with close ties to the Soviet Union
under the Mongolian Communist Party, with the establishment of the
Unen ("Truth") newspaper similar to the Soviet Pravda. Until
reforms in the 1990s, the government had strict control of the media
and oversaw all publishing, in which no independent media was
allowed. The dissolution of the
Soviet Union had a significant
impact on Mongolia, where the one-party state grew into a multi-party
democracy, and with that, media freedoms came to the forefront.
A new law on press freedom, drafted with help from international NGOs
on August 28, 1998 and enacted on January 1, 1999, paved the way for
media reforms. The Mongolian media currently consists of around
300 print and broadcasting outlets.
Since 2006, the media environment has been improving with the
government debating a new Freedom of Information Act, and the removal
of any affiliation of media outlets with the government.
Market reforms have led to an increasing number of people working in
the media year on year, along with students at journalism
In its 2013 World Press Freedom Index report, Reporters Without
Borders classified the media environment as 98th out of 179, with 1st
being most free. In 2016,
Mongolia was ranked 60th out of
According to 2014 Asian Development Bank survey, 80% of Mongolians
cited TV as their main source of information.
Mongolia at the Olympics
Naadam is the largest summer celebration
The main national festival is Naadam, which has been organised for
centuries and takes place over three days in the summer, consists of
three Mongolian traditional sports, archery, horse-racing (over long
stretches of open country, not the short racing around a track
practiced in the West), and wrestling, traditionally recognized as the
Three Manly Games of Nadaam. In modern-day Mongolia,
Naadam is held on
July 11 to 13 in the honour of the anniversaries of the National
Democratic Revolution and foundation of the Great
Another very popular activity called Shagaa is the "flicking" of sheep
ankle bones at a target several feet away, using a flicking motion of
the finger to send the small bone flying at targets and trying to
knock the target bones off the platform. At Naadam, this contest is
very popular and develops a serious audience among older Mongolians.
Horse riding is especially central to Mongolian culture. The
long-distance races that are showcased during
Naadam festivals are one
aspect of this, as is the popularity of trick riding. One example of
trick riding is the legend that the Mongolian military hero Damdin
Sükhbaatar scattered coins on the ground and then picked them up
while riding a horse at full gallop.
Mongolian wrestling is the most popular of all
Mongol sports. It is
the highlight of the Three Manly Games of Naadam. Historians claim
that Mongol-style wrestling originated some seven thousand years ago.
Hundreds of wrestlers from different cities and aimags around the
country take part in the national wrestling competition.
Other sports such as basketball, weightlifting, powerlifting, and
association football, athletics, gymnastics, table tennis, jujutsu,
karate, aikido, kickboxing, mixed martial arts have become popular in
Mongolia. More Mongolian table tennis players are competing
Freestyle wrestling has been practised since 1958 in Mongolia.
Mongolian freestyle wrestlers have won the first and the most Olympic
medals of Mongolia.
Naidangiin Tüvshinbayar won Mongolia's first ever Olympic gold medal
in the men's 100-kilogram class of judo.
Amateur boxing has been practised in
Mongolia since 1948.
Mongolian olympic boxing national team was founded in 1960. Communist
Mongolia banned boxing during the period 1964–1967 but
the government ended ban on boxing soon.
Professional boxing began in
Mongolia in the 1990s.
Mongolia's basketball team enjoyed some success recently, especially
at the East Asian Games.
Association football is also played in Mongolia. The Mongolian
national team began playing national games again during the 1990s; but
has not yet qualified for a major international tournament. The
Mongolia Premier League is the top domestic competition.
Several Mongolian women have excelled in pistol shooting: Otryadyn
Gündegmaa is a silver medalist of the 2008 Olympic Games, Munkhbayar
Dorjsuren is a double world champion and Olympic bronze medal winner
(now representing Germany), while
Tsogbadrakhyn Mönkhzul is, as of
May 2007, ranked third in the world in the 25-metre pistol event.
Mongolian sumo wrestler
Dolgorsürengiin Dagvadorj won 25 top division
tournament championships, placing him fourth on the all-time list . In
Mönkhbatyn Davaajargal took his 33rd top division
championship, giving him the most in the history of sumo.
Ulaanbataar holds an annual marathon in June. 2015 will have the 6th
marathon that has been organized by Ar Mongol. The race starts at Sukh
Bataar Square and is always open to residents and runners who come
especially for this unique event.
Mongolia holds many traditional festivals throughout the year. Naadam
Festival is the largest festival, celebrated in every town and village
across the country. It features three sporting events: wrestling,
archery and horse racing, amongst other traditional games and
Eagle festival draws about 400 eagle hunters on
horseback, including the traveler Мөнхбаярт
Батсайхан (Munkhbayart Batsaikhan), to compete with their
Ice festival and the Thousand
Camel Festival are amongst
many other traditional Mongolian festivals.
Index of Mongolia-related articles
Treaty of friendship and alliance between the Government of Mongolia
Outline of Mongolia
List of World Heritage Sites in Mongolia
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