Stunning pictures and wonderful facts about the life in Mongolia
This large country in East Asia is a place of contrasts, ancient history and surreal natural landscapes. Read on to find 21 fascinating facts about the Mongolian history, culture and way of life.
#1 The largest contiguous land empire in history was founded in Mongolia in the 13th century by powerful and brutal warlord Genghis Khan. The Mongol Empire controlled most of Eurasia and was at the height of its power for about a century
#2 In the 20th century, Mongolia was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. In 1990, it gained independence and became a free democratic country
#3 Mongolia is the least densely populated independent country in the world – around 3,000,000 people live in the area of 1,564,116 km² (603,909 sq mi), which means the population density is 1.97 people per km² or 5.1 people per sq mi
#4 Mongolia's capital, Ulaanbaatar, is the coldest capital city in the world – in January and February, the temperature there ranges between -15°C (5°F) and -40°C (-40°F). The average annual temperature is -1.3°C or 29.7°F
#5 An estimated 25 to 40 percent of modern Mongolians live as nomadic herders, just like their ancestors did hundreds and hundreds years ago
#6 Nomadic families live in gers, large portable tents made from felt. Due to their circular shape, gers can be quickly heated in harsh winters and efficiently cooled in hot burning summers
#7 Horses play an important role in Mongolian culture – beyond Ulaanbaatar, the horse still remains the main means of transportation
#8 Airag, a fermented dairy product made from a mare's milk, is a popular traditional beverage in Mongolia
#9 A zud or dzud is a Mongolian term for a severe winter in which large number of livestock die from the cold or starvation. If a herding family loses all their animals to zud, they usually move to the city to start a new life
#10 The population of Ulaanbaatar has almost doubled in the last 10 years, as more and more herders move to the city every year
#11 Only 50% of nomads who start a new life in Ulaanbaatar live in flats or houses: the rest of them settle down in ger districts located on the outskirts of the capital due to the high price of other accommodation
#12 Air pollution is one of the most significant problems of ger districts, as most families use iron coal stoves for cooking and heating, especially during winters
#13 Mongolia is located at the junction of Siberian taiga, Central Asian prairie, steppe, and deserts
#14 The highest mountain in Mongolia is Nairamdal Peak, which towers at the elevation of 4,082 m ( 13,392 ft). It marks the border tripoint between Russia, Mongolia, and China
#15 Mongolian religion has been traditionally dominated by the schools of Mongolian Buddhism and by Mongolian shamanism. Today, 53% of the Mongolians identify as Buddhists, and around 40% are not religious
#16 The national Mongolian costume is called the deel – it's a long gown made of bright silk, cotton or brocade. It's still commonly worn by herders, both men and women
#17 One of the major holidays in Mongolia is the Naadam Festival held throughout the country during midsummer.
#18 The Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue near Ulaanbaatar stands at the height of 40 m (131 feet). It is symbolically pointed east towards Genghis Khan's birthplace and is located at the place where, according to legend, he found a golden whip
#19 A small population of the critically endangered wild Bactrian camel lives in Mongolia. Only about 1,400 of them are left in the world. A larger population lives in China. It is the only truly wild species of camel in the world. Bactrian camels have two humps
#20 The Golden Eagle Festival is annually held in Bayan-Ölgii aimag, Mongolia
#21 A Mongolian name is usually combined of two words describing the personality or representing something positive or powerful, e.g. Bolormaa (crystal lady), Gantulga (steel hearth), Enkhjargal (peaceful happiness).
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