● Mongolia lies in central Asia between
Siberia on the north and China on the
● It is slightly larger than Alaska.
● It is landlocked
● Because of its harsh terrain, the
country has few people compared to
its large size.
● With its vast grasslands and herds of
grazing animals Mongolia has been
called the “Texas of Asia.”
Nomadic Herders, Darhad Valley
Photograph by Gordon Wiltsie Courtesy National Geographic
When fall comes to northern Mongolia’s Darhad valley,
hundreds of families load up their oxen and move their sheep,
goats, and cattle over 10,000-foot (3,000-meter) mountains to
winter pasture. The twice-yearly trek has shaped nomadic life
here for centuries.
Government & Statistics
Government: Parliamentary Republic
(In transition from communism)
President: Tsakhiagiyn Elbegdorj (2009)
Prime Minister: Norov Altankhuyag (2012)
Total area: 604,247 sq mi (1,565,000 sq km)
Population (2013 est.): 3,226,516
Capital and largest city (2009 est.): Ulaan Baatar,
Monetary unit: Tugrik
Mongolia's Government Palace sits in Sukhbaatar Square.
Built during the Soviet era, in the Gothic style of the time, the
palace has recently had a facelift. A lick of paint and a new
frontage dedicated to Genghis Khan has given it a truly
Mongolia is nicknamed the "Land of
Blue Skies," because there are about
250 sunny days throughout each year.
During winter the weather is bitterly cold
dropping down to -40º in some parts.
The weather during the summer varies
from region to region, but is generally
Outside of the Gobi desert, this time of
year is marked with many rains in some
areas, and it can become quite cool at
● Mongolian culture is well-known for its hospitality.
● Upon guests’ arrival, traditional offerings and treats are
served - dairy products in the summer time, and meat in the
● Traditionally a Mongolian, even during his absence, will
leave his ger (house) unlocked, in order to allow any
passer-by to rest and enjoy the treats which are left on the
table for visitors.
● Two of the most significant Mongolian art forms are Khoomi
singing (throat singing) and the playing of the Morin Huur or
Horse Head fiddle.
● The Mongolian long song is a truly nomadic art form. It can
be sung without any accompanying instruments and is very
melodic, and the voices of good long song singers can
carry over immense distances. Common themes include
nature, family, animals, and epic tales.
Photograph by Christopher De Bruyn, My Shot
A young woman in an elaborate traditional headdress
participates in a beauty pageant in Darhan, one of
Mongolia’s largest cities. Nearly half of all Mongolians
live in cities; a third (about one million) live in the capital
city of Ulaanbaatar.
● Shamanism is a "technique of ecstasy" (Mircea Eliade) in
which the spirit of the shaman leaves the body and travels to
communicate with spirit helpers and other beings for the
purpose of obtaining knowledge, power, or healing.
● Shamanic healing is a process whereby a person journeys on
behalf of another, and brings back information or instructions
that can be used to provide psychological, physical,
emotional, or spiritual healing to another person.
● Shamanism goes back in Mongolian history long before
Chinggis Khan’s time, but it was Chinggis Khan that made it
into such a fundamental part of the Mongolian tradition.
o Mongolians have been Buddhists since the 16th century
Photograph by Carolyn Drake
A novice shaman makes an offering of milk to the
spirits at her initiation outside the Mongolian capital of
Festivals & Holidays
● Tsagaan Sar
o The “white moon” celebrations are celebrated at
the Lunar New Year.
o It is a tradition to climb a sacred mountain on the
first day of the New Year, to welcome the first
morning of the New Year on the mountain peak.
o On the three following days, Mongolians visit their
relatives and friends, and enjoy traditional food and
● Naadam Festival
o The most well-known Mongolian Festival.
o The festival consists of the “three manly sports”
o Wrestling, horse riding and archery, accompanied
by festivities of eating, drinking, and much
o The event is celebrated all over Mongolia, with the
main events taking place in the capital.
Photograph by Gordon Wiltsie
Judges keep a close watch as one wrestler trounces
another during a premigration festival in the Darhad
valley. Mongolian legend claims wrestlers began
wearing open-chested shirts after a woman won
competitions disguised as a man.
● Archeological evidence shows that the area now
known as Mongolia has been inhabited for over
● Though Mongolia is known today as the land of
nomads, the evidence clearly indicates that many
societies were once farmers.
● As far as we know, the name “Mongol” was first
mentioned in Chinese writings from the 9th century.
The Chinese described the Mong-ko (Mongol) as “the
people who follow the tails of their horses according to
the growth pace of the grass and its withering”.
● Only in the 12th century, under the rule of Chinggis
Khan, were Mongolia’s clans gathered under one flag,
becoming a unified nation.
Photograph by Charles Meacham
A man in western Mongolia wears a fur-trimmed
hat as protection from the bitter cold of winter.
Sprawled across mountains and plateaus,
Mongolia has an average elevation of 5,180 feet
● Nomadic tribes that periodically plundered
agriculturally based China from the west are recorded
in Chinese history dating back more than 2,000
● It was to protect China from these marauding peoples
that the Great Wall was constructed around 200 B.C.
● The name Mongol comes from a small tribe whose
leader, Genghis Khan, began a conquest that would
eventually encompass an enormous empire.
● The empire stretched from Asia to Europe, as far
west as the Black Sea and as far south as India and
● By the 14th century, the kingdom was in serious
decline, with invasions from a resurgent China and
● After the decline of the empire, in the 14th century, Mongolia was ruled by the Manchu dynasty
● By 1919 Mongolia was again under the rule of a Chinese warlord. At that time the communist
revolution was taking Russia by storm. At the invitation of the Mongolian government in 1921,
White Russian soldiers, running from the Communist Reds, defeated the Chinese conquerors,
and took control of Mongolia
● On November 26, 1924, Mongolia became the second communist country.
● For the next 70 years Mongolia was a satellite country to the Soviet Union.
● The Mongolian government was a actually puppet government controlled by the communist
party, executing orders issued by the Kremlin.
● Between 1930 and 1940 at least one third of the male population of Mongolia was slaughtered
by order of the communist party in far-away Moscow.
● Religious figures, intellectuals, and anyone who might be a threat to the communist party was
killed or exiled to Siberia.
● In the 1990s as the Soviet Union experienced the crash of the communist ideology, Mongolia
underwent a peaceful revolution and became a Democratic Republic.
Wait for it………..