Ready to learn a few interesting facts about Mongolia?
Whether you’re thinking of visiting Mongolia sometime soon or just want to know more about this East Asian country, this article is for you.
Here’s our roundup of the most interesting Mongolia facts:
1. Mongolia is a landlocked country located in the middle of East Asia. Though it has extensive borders, it only touches China (to its south) and Russia (to its north), both countries which have their own extensive borders. Though a world map might look as if it also touches Kazakhstan to its west, there is a 23-mile (37 km) distance between the two countries.
2. Mongolia is the most sparsely populated country in the world. With a size of 605,000 mi2 (1,566,000 km2), Mongolia is a large country, the world’s 18th largest, in fact. However, with just around 3.35 million people (2020), which is just slightly more than Armenia, it makes Mongolia the country with the lowest population density.
3. Mongolia’s capital city, and largest city, is Ulaanbaatar. Because of its unique positioning and the effects of the cold air that comes from the Siberian anticyclone, Ulaanbaatar is the coldest national capital in the world, beating out such places as Moscow, Reykjavik, and Ottawa! The average temperature year-round is below freezing at 31.3 °F (−0.4 °C), and it can get down to −40 °F (which also happens to be −40 °C) in January!
4. Horses are an important part of Mongolian culture. As almost one-third of the population still retain nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyles, horses are integral to Mongolian life. There is a saying in Mongolia that translates to “A Mongol without a horse is like a bird without the wings.” The breed of horse in Mongolia is simply called the Mongolian horse, and the mare’s milk is often used to produce airag, a fermented drink similar to kefir and the national beverage of Mongolia.
5. “Mongolian” is the demonym, but “Mongol” is the ethnic group. It can be confusing, but “Mongolian” refers to something or someone from Mongolia, while “Mongol” is an ethnic group native to East Asia. China also has a “Mongolia,” the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which is also made up of Mongols but not Mongolians. When differentiating between these two Mongolias, Inner Mongolia is the region in China, while Outer Mongolia refers to the country.
6. Mongolian is also the name for the language of Mongolia. It uses two alphabets (scripts), both the traditional Mongolian alphabet (used more in the south near China) and the Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet (used more in the north near Russia) due to its ties with Russia and for being a part of the Soviet Union.
7. Genghis Khan is the founding father of Mongolia. In 1206, he united many of the Northeast Asian nomadic tribes into one empire, the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history, though it earned that title after his death. Overlooking Ulaanbaatar, the Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue is a 130 ft tall (40 m) monument of Genghis Khan on horseback that sits on top of a visitor center. It is the largest equestrian statue in the world.
Well, that’s all our Mongolia facts for now, and we hope you’ve found this post interesting and informative! Do you have any questions, feedback, or other facts about Mongolia we should include on our list? Let us know below in the comments, and thanks for reading!