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10 Surprising Facts about the Modern Mongolians

The nearly 3 million Mongolians, who inherited their vast land from their ancestors, are owners of the State Opera and Ballet Theater. Renowned artists and dancers from world-famous theaters such as the Boston Ballet and Russia’s Bolshoi Theater have performed at this theater. On the stages of Mongolia’s theaters – in the capital city and in the country – classical and modern plays are performed regularly. In the halls, modern art is displayed. Mongolia has become a home to a creative breeding ground for globally acclaimed and award-winning filmmakers, Olympic champions and world-renowned scientists. Every Mongolian, living in Mongolia or abroad, is a proud modern-day nomad.

Felt city

American Vice President Henry Wallace once named Ulaanbaatar the “Felt City.” In fact, if you take down a Mongolian ger, you’ll see it is made of only wood and wool. As the Mongolian Wool Manufacturer’s Association emphasizes, “Mongolian wool is close-meshed and porous, that creates a vacuum environment.”

Land of Livestock and People

As of 2013 Mongolia had a total of 45 million livestock which means that are 15 animals for every Mongolian.

Tidal Wave of Young Blood

One-third of the population is between 18 and 35 years old. Mongolia’s future is in good hands with many of the younger generation studying overseas and returning to share their knowledge. As G. Luvsanjamts, who studied architecture in Japan, said “Don’t be surprised if all business meetings are conducted with young businessmen, leaders and artists. I established my company a year ago, and I’m 27. My goal is smog-free, frost-resistant, and cost-effective housing.”

Part of the Famous Silk Road

Mongolia is the center of all Mongol tribes and cultures. Historically, one of the routes of the Silk Road and the Tea Road passed through Mongolia. Now the Trans-Siberian railway runs across the country from north to south providing a great experience for train ride lovers.

Thousands of Stars

If you’ve ever gazed up at the night sky and wondered what was above and beyond, then Mongolia is for you. Many tourists say it’s the best place for star gazing with the electricity-free countryside.

The Story of the Weeping Camel

Nominated for Best Documentary at the 77th Academy Awards in 2005, The Story of the Weeping Camel gives a rare insight into Mongolian life. Byambasuren Davaa directed the documentary along with director and cinematographer Luigi Falorni in 2003 while he was studying at the University of Television and Film Munich. The documentary shows the intrinsic relationship that Mongolians share with nature when folk music is played to restore harmony between a mother camel and the calf she has rejected.

From a Goat to Your Coat

The 400-meter tall sand dunes are not the only name cards of the Gobi. Gobi Cashmere is the first cashmere producing company in Mongolia and ranks fifth in the world among its competitors with over 20 brand name store worldwide.

The Feast of the Modern Nomads

Have a taste of real Mongolian food without leaving the capital city. A variety of restaurants now offer Mongolian food – and it’s not Mongolian lamb like you may expect. Of course, meat is the main ingredient of a Mongolian’s diet well-suited to their lifestyle and the climate. Today, you can enjoy the traditional cuisine prepared with modern twist using local ingredients at Modern Nomads, one of the leading chain restaurants in Mongolia. For example, the Reindeer Wigwam is a dish with roasted lamb ribs that looks just like a reindeer herder’s teepee. Great Mongol Empire is another dish worth to note – it allows you to try different varieties of Mongolian dishes at once.

Treasures Hidden Under the Ancient Seabed

Women’s clothing, especially the headwear and accessories, are decorated with various precious stones including red corals. Where do these corals come from? They all come from the Mongolian Gobi, the ancient seabed of rich source of red corals beneath its sandy soil.


Before adopting the Cyrillic alphabet in 1946, Mongolians used the vertical script which has only 26 characters (excluding the characters for foreign letters). Today, the traditional script is developing as a form of art in addition to writing.