Culture Mongolia

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Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Mongolia

Mongolia : Discover the country's culture


"The Secret History of the Mongols", the famous 13th century Mongol chronicle, translated into English.


Mongolia. Lonely Planet.


"Mongolia: music of Mongolia", various artists.
"Mongolia, Kazakh songs".

Mongolia : Discover the country's history

Historical dates

Palaeolithic era (from 40,000 BC to 12,000 BC), some sites have been uncovered in the Gobi-Altai, however some petroglyphs are proof of human presence on Mongol soil as far back as 500,000 BC.
This part of the country is particularly rich in remains from the Mesolithic era (12,000 BC to 6,000 BC) and especially the Neolithic era. During the Bronze age (13th century to 11th century BC), beginning of the "Horse People" era, which is the time when the sedentary society became one of nomadic horse-riders. The stelae and stag petroglyphs, visible on several Mongol sites could date from that time.
During the Iron age, some powerful nomadic tribe groups started to form, around the first millennium BC.
Between the 3rd century BC and the 2nd, emerging of the "Steppe empire", with, first of all, the Hiung-Nu, who rebel against the Emperor of China. Some sets of funerary monuments remain.
155-400, Hsien-Pi domination.
400-552, the Juan-Juan empire stretched from Korea to Russian Turkestan. It was eventually conquered by the Turkic.
552-740, Turkic era (early Middle Ages). The Turks established their central power in the Orkhon valley which was eventually taken over by the Uyghur.
745-840, Uyghur empire. The remains of fortifications bear witness to a time of intense building. Firstly Buddhists, the Uyghur then converted to Manichaeism, a religion originally from Irak, in 762. They adopted an alphabet based on the writing of the Syrian Aramaic language.
After a short time of Kyrgyz influence, the Khitan people of Manchu origin (China) settled in from the 10th century to 12th century: it is a time of urban planning and re-integration of Buddhism which became State-religion.
From the 13th to the 17th century, Mongol empire.
In 1206, Temujin became Gengis Khan and united small peoples of diverse origin and founded the Mongol empire, named after the leading tribe.
From 1206 to 1227, the Mongols invaded Northern China, seized Beijing and settled in a great part of Central Asia.
Genghis Khan died in 1227.
From 1229 to 1245, his successor Ogedei, son of Gengis Khan, launched the conquest of Russia, Korea, western Iran and Armenia. When he died in 1241, they reached the gates of Vienna.
Intern rivalry progressively tore the Empire apart.
1259-1294, Emperor Kublai Khan, grand-son of Gengis Khan, transfered the capital town of the empire to Beijing and founded the Mongol Yuan dynasty, in China.
In 1368, the Mongols were driven out of Beijing by the Chinese. It is the beginning of the Ming dynasty. Mongolia fell under Manchu domination and the country was split into several administrative circumscriptions.
In 1911, the Mongols pushed the Manchus out and proclaimed the independence of Mongolia.
In 1924, the republic was officially proclaimed. Urga was renamed Ulan Bator. The communists of the USSR rapidly imposed the Soviet system in Mongolia. The country became one of the USSR's satellite states.
The official figures for the victims of the purges stated 30,000 dead.
From 1937 to 1938, most Buddhist temples were destroyed. Monks were deported or killed.
Until 1989, the Mongolian political system ran on the Soviet model: the single party MPRP (Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party), all power in the hands of one man.
In 1989, following the break up of the Soviet regime and the Mongol workers' strikes, the Assembly loosened the system and adopted reforms.
In 1992, the MPRP was re-elected but the Democratic Movement was then inexorable.
Setting of a new Constitution.
The country received the official name of Republic of Mongolia.
In 1996, the communists lost the elections. Mongolia is now ruled by a democratic coalition with Natsagiin Bagabandi, the old Vice-President of the Mongolian People's
Revolutionnary Party (MPRP, ex-Communist) converted to free market economy, for president.
May 2001: re-election of Bagabandi with 57.95% of votes against 36.58% for his main opponent, the Democratic Party's candidate, Gonchigdorj.
May 2005: The old socialist Prime Minister Nambar Enkhbayar was elected President of Mongolia with 53.4% of votes.

Mongolia : Stay up to date on the country's holidays and events


1st January: New Year's Day.
Early February : Tsagaan Tsar, New Lunar Year's Day.
8th March: International women's day.
1st June: Mother and child's day
July : The official festival of Naadam which commemorates the Mongol revolution in 1921 and is the occasion of military-religious marches in Ulan Bator, and of sports tournaments.
26th November: National holiday.

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