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Since ancient times, Mongolia has nomadic lifestyle and nowadays about 30 percent of the population are nomads and semi-nomads who are raising livestock. They move several times a year depending on the food for the animals and weather condition. Also they have a strict tradition to respect each other and protect the nature. They are extremely unique people who are very industrious and hospitable.

It is incredible that nomads living a life mostly unchanged for centuries. Many Mongolian business tycoons, politicians and urban dwellers still take time in the summer months to relax by living in the countryside with their relatives in the traditional portable round nomad homes called "Gers" which is the important part of national identity. The fortitude needed to survive artic cold in a felt covered "Ger" and the graciousness required to welcome all visitors to the nomad's home are essential foundations of Mongolian society and an integral part of the Mongolian people's character. Riding hardy Mongolian horses and moving their gers from one pasture to the next the nomadic culture of Mongolia is probably the last of its kind still surviving in Asia.

Since the 20th century, Russian and, via Russia, European culture had strong effect on Mongolia.

It influenced for the people's lifestyle, urbanization, cuisine, clothing and education system. Modern Mongolia is famous for its cultural and natural heritages, great history and ideal nomad lifestyle.

The Ger

The Ger has been used since the Mongols started nomadic way of life style with animal husbandry. The nomads have developed circular felt covered dwelling, the ger (yurt in Turkish) adopted to the difficult conditions of the daily life (cold, wind, sun) and easy to be moved as can be raised and dismantled in 30 to 60 minutes. The gers have beautiful carved decorated doors, south oriented. A Ger consists of felt covers (deever, tuurga), wooden columns (bagana), toono(a square window), uni or thin wooden poles, floor, khana or wall( wooden lattice attached together with animal's hide ropes) and ropes. Most of Ger materials are made out of felt- sheep wool, ropes- camel or sheep wool, horse or yak's tail, and of course wood. A usual Mongol ger has 5 khanas and 88 unis. "Ger" is the important part of national identity. The fortitude needed to survive cold in a felt covered "Ger" and the graciousness required to welcome all visitors to the nomad%u2019s home are essential foundations of Mongolian society and an integral part of the Mongolian people's character.


Mongolians traditionally were afraid of misfortunes and believe in a variety of good and bad omens. Misfortune might be attracted by talking about negative things, or by persons that are often talked about. They might also be sent by some malicious shaman or enraged by breaking some taboo, like stepping on a yurt's threshold, desecrating waters or mountains, etc. Before going out at night, young children's foreheads are sometimes painted with charcoal or soot in order to deceive evil spirits that this is not a child but a rabbit with black hair on the forehead. When passing ovoos on a journey, they are often circumambulated, and some sweets or the like are sacred, in order to have a further safe trip. Certain ovoos, especially those on high mountains, are also sacred in order to obtain good weather, ward off misfortune and the like. For a child, the first big celebration is the first haircut, usually at an age between three and five. Birthdays were not celebrated in the old times, but these days, birthday parties are popular. Wedding ceremonies traditionally include the hand-over of a new ger to the marrying couple. Deceased relatives were usually put to rest in the open, where the corpses would be eaten by animals and birds. Nowadays, corpses are usually buried.


Mongolian fine art probably started when the first man from the Stone Age drew the first picture on the walls of a cave. The Mongolian fine art is connected with the central Asian fine art. Mongolians used mostly paints and materials of natural or animals origin: animal skin felt, wool, bones, horns and other natural items. Before the 20th century, most of the fine arts in Mongolia had a religious function, and therefore Mongolian fine arts were deeply influenced by religious texts. Thangkas were usually painted or made in applique technique. Bronze sculptures usually showed Buddhist deities. A number of great works are attributed to the Saint Zanabazar who occupies a special position of Mongolian Art development. Zanabazar is referred to as the most prominent figure of the Mongolian Renaissance. He left a rich legacy of bronze sculpture and paintings. Some of which are featured in the fine Arts museum. Silk embroideries or appliqué is another kind of painting developed in Mongolia and has been perfected for many centuries from the times of the Huns. It has got a specific design, combination of colors and way of painting. Natural paints made of gold, silver, coral, pearl bronze, copper and other minerals were used for appliqué. Besides appliqué, religious scroll painting was widely developed in Mongolia.

In the late 19th century, painters like "Marzan" Sharav turned to more realistic painting styles which illustrate the Mongolian way of life. During the socialist period, socialist realism was the dominant painting style. Among the first attempts to introduce modernism into the fine arts of Mongolia was the painting "Ehiinsetgel" (Mother's love) created by Tsegmid in 1960s. The artist was purged as his work was censored.


About music, Mongolia has a very old and rich musical tradition and Mongolian people enjoy music and like to sing. There are many remarkable instruments, various kinds of songs and dance. In the 20th century, western style classical music has been introduced, and mixed with traditional elements by some composers. Later on the full palette of Pop and Rock music has also been adopted by younger musicians.


Throat singing is a talent learnt by only a few in Mongolia and is regarded as a great skill. The unique sounds produced through this technique are exquisite. Throat singers use a technique of circular breathing so it seems that they never draw breath in a song lasting up to 3-4 minutes.

Morin Khuur

Horse head fiddle is one of the many unique traditional instruments of the Mongolian people. Great legends surround the origins of this fiddle the strings of which are made from horse hair. The Morin Khuur is used on its own, with vocal or other instruments accompanying it. Thousands of songs have been written to be used by this famous instrument.


The traditional dress of the Mongols has a rich history spanning many centuries. The deel is the Mongolian traditional garment worn on both workdays and special days. The dress reflects the age of the wearer and the costumes of elderly people are as a rule, modest and plain. The female dress shows the differences between the attire of the girls and that of married women. The latter is decorated and adorned more splendidly with ornaments and jewels. The design of the garments, the combination of the colors as well as decorations are great and beautiful. Mongolian dress has changed little since the days of the empire, because it is supremely well-adapted to the conditions of life on the steppe and the daily activities of pastoral nomads. However, there have been some changes in styles which distinguish modern Mongolian dress from historic costume. Each ethnic group living in Mongolia has its own deel design distinguished by cut, color and trimming. Before the revolution, all social strata in Mongolia had their own manner of dressing. Livestock-breeders, for example, wore plain deels, which served them both summer and winter.


There are various kinds of games in Mongolia such as ankle bone, puzzle games that develop one's IQ, chess and playing cards. Horse racing and ankle bone shooting are the most popular games of nomads. Since ancient times Mongolian parents pay attention to their children%u2019s intelligence, so there are numerous puzzle games are invented.


Mongolian traditionally have turned to foods that are high in protein and minerals, relying less on more seasonable foods like vegetables and fruits. This means a diet heavy on meat and dairy products, the later when sour in the summer time thought to clean the stomach. It isn't just about meat though. Mongolians do also eat cereal, barley and natural fruits and plants native to the country.

Out of necessity Mongolians have found creative and ingenious ways to use the milk of all five of the domestic animals in the country: sheep, cows, goats, camels and horses. The method of drying the dairy products is common in preparing them. The Mongolians prepare enough dairy products for the long winter and spring. Traditional Mongolian food has got many kinds of dairy products: aaruul (dried curd), cheese, cottage cheese and others. To make aaruul, dried curd, milk is boiled with some fermented cheese and then the mass is cut into pieces or put into forms and dried on special plates. These are different technology to make Mongolian cheese and yogurt. Meat has always been an important ingredient of the Mongolian food. In order to keep the meat for long period of time, it is smoked by keeping the meat above the smoke of burning dried dung. Meat is also dried in the open air and then used for cooking. There are several kinds of meat dishes. For instance, depending on the part of the animal body the meat is taken from, the meat is called turagmakh (meat), dotor meat, tolgoi and shiir. Turag meat is the meat of the animal body; dotormakh from the heart, stomach, kidney and lungs of an animal. Meat is served in different styles: It can be filling for dumplings the main ingredient of soups, or it can just be boiled and served. Boodog is one of the delicacies. For making boodog the goat meat or mutton is cut into pieces and cooked in an animal skin from the inside out, by placing hot rocks inside.


While in Mongolia, you should try a fermented mare's milk, called airag. First drunk in Mongolia over 1000 years ago, airag is still revered and enjoyed throughout the country. Since the days when Mongolian warriors lived on very little else, the method of collecting milk in huge leather bags and churning it has not changed.


Mongolian literature is greatly influenced by its nomadic oral traditions. The "three peaks" of Mongolian literature, the Secret History of Mongolia, Geser and Jangar, all reflect the age-long tradition of heroic epics on the Eurasian Steppes. Mongolian literature has also been a reflection of the society of the given time, its level of political, economic and social development as well as leading intellectual trends.

In the 19th century, there was a trend of critical thinking with Injanashi and Danzanravjaa satirizing the worldly pursuits of the Buddhist clergy as well as the excesses of the nobility. Prince Tokhtokhtor produced a book on practical advice concerning management of the traditional economy. Jimbadorji produced the "Bolor Toli", an encyclopaedia concerning detailed geographical information and observations about different countries, in 1833. In 1921 the establishment of the Provisional Government of Sukhbaatar led to a radical change in Mongolian society as the country abruptly entered the modern, industrial world. The close alignment with the Soviet Union meant that socialist realism would be the dominant literary style for the following decades. Important pioneers of modern Mongolian literature were D. Natsagdorj (1906-1937), S. Buyannemekh, and Ts. Damdinsuren. Successful writers from the post-war period include S.Erdene, Ch.Lodoidamba, or S. Udval. Literary topics were often taken from countryside life, from the times of Mongolia's struggle for independence and the communist revolution, or from the Second World War. Many of B.Rinchen's works deal with Mongolia's older history. One of the most popular poets of the time was dissident poet R.Choinom who served a sentence for his works.