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Mongolian art and culture


Historical essentials of Mongolian culture


The rock-painting monuments found on the territory of Mongolia and survived to date from the early Iron Age bring us the message of our ancestors who lived 5 000-3 000 years ago. The monuments allows us to read the ancient history of Mongolia. The capable depiction of horse-cart, ox-cart attracts the attention of researchers even today. While the earliest rock-paintings depict wild beasts and birds, with the passage of time the ability of depicting gets improved, the paintings show people's life to a greater extent alongside with beasts. These works illustrate hunting scenes, sowing of crops, domestication of animals, ox-cart carriages, and even the intimate relations of men and women.

Stone memorials

The most famous stone memorials found on the teritory of Mongolia belong to the Turkic period. The valuable stone memorials of Toniyukuk, Bilge Khan and Kultegin found in the Orkhon Valley hold the history of the ancestors of today's 70 million Turkish people. These three generals who were the latest leaders of the powerful state in the Central Asia inscribed on the memorial how they had made the great state. The scripts on the side of the memorial are in Runic having a history of 1200 years. The stone memorials, still existing in the Orkhon Valley and evidencing the great history, are registered by UNESCO as cultural heritage.


Erdenezuu is a historical religious monument connected with the legendary Kharkhorin city, the ancient capital of Mongolia that remained hidden to the world for 500-600 years. The history of Mongolians has been always evidenced by others' history. The Kharkhorin city has become known to the world due to the history about Mongolians written by States that are isolated tens of thousand kilometers away from each other. The Kharkhorin city of 30 thousand inhabitants was invaded by 100 thousand soldiers of Ming dynasty, and burned down. Later, the stone wall remains were transported, and the current Erdenezuu monastry was build up. It is no exageration to say that for some time the monastry served not only as the religious center; it also served as the political and economic center of Mongolians.

Three Learned States

India, Tibet and Mongolia were named as learned in the Buddhist religion. Wanchin-Erdene, Dalai Lama and Bogd Gegeen constitute the Buddhist religious monarch system to discover and install each other. Mongolians played a key role in systematizing the Buddhist religious principles and established a college which promoted to the development of scientific branches in monasteries. Einstein recognized the Buddhist philsophy to be the most systematic and scientifc religion. Buddhism is the most peaceful, at the same time, it is the most powerful religion.

Morin Khur

Morin Khur, or horse-head fiddle is a Mongolian national musical instrument. Up to 1990s the instrument was mainly used to perform national melodies which imitate animals' and nature's appearance and behavior, especially the horse. Nowadays, it is also used to perform world classical melodies. Many of the Mongolian and foreign spectators are impressed and delighted about the instrument's potential. Morin Khur which represents the greatest symbol of national musical instruments was created by the nomadic Mongolians, and it is registered into the world cultural heritage. A new player of Morin Khur, first of all, learns to imitate the amble gait of a horse. This shows that the horse-head fiddle is inseparable from the Mongolians and their horses. The horse has been the pride of Mongolian cavalrymen, and the mainstay of their unity.

Long song

Long song is a unique traditional singing style known as Urtiin duu. Its miracle is unrepeatable elsewhere. A herder taking herds to pasture sings a song which involves extraordinarily complicated, drawn-out vocal sounds. It is evocative of the boundless steppe. While the people from other countries live in relevancy of each other, the Mongolians are comparatively independent people. This specific of life is formed into majestic profound songs, demanding great skill and the breathing abilities. Long songs are produced in the depth of people's real life, that is why there is no author and composer. They represent one of the oldest genres of Mongolian musical art, dating to the 13th century.


The Khuumii involves producing two simultaneous tones with the human voice. It is a difficult skill requiring special ways of breathing. One tone comes out as a whistle-like sound, the result of locked breath in the chest being forced out through the throat in a specific way, while a lower tone sounds as a base. The Khuumii is considered musical art -not exactly singing, but using one's throat as an instrument. It doesn't occur in other national cultures.

Bielge, or dance of the body

Bielge is particular to the people of western Mongolia. The dancers make practically no use of their feet. Instead, the dancers use only the upper part of their bodies. There are more than ten types of Bielge distinguishable by the movement of arms, especially shoulders, wrist and fingers. Mongolians perform Bielge since childhood. In olden days the herding neighbors used to get together in their ger to have a fun of dancing Bielge. This way the traditional manner of performing Bielge has been handed down from generation to generation and reached the present time in a somewhat modified form.

Epics and legends

This ancient genre, enriched by generations, combines poetry, songs, music and the individuality of each performer. Singers may sing with or without a musical instrument. These sung stories are told from memory and may have thousands of quatrains. Such long stories are usually performed on a long winter night.
By combining stories, music and drama, herders organize a kind of home school. The children, while playing various collective games with bone and wooden toys, listen to the songs and learn about history, life and folklore. "Geser", "Jangar", "Khan Kharakhui", and "Bum Erdene" are classic legend and story songs. Each is a library of folk wisdom and national heritage.

Ger, the traditional dwelling

The Mongolian, Kyrgyz and Kazakh people live in ger what the West, following Russians, call yurt. However, Kyrgyz and Kazakh people have given up the portable home of nomads and already transferred to a sedentary way of life. Hut was the first human dwelling 10 thousand years ago. Thereafter, a round form dwelling ger, the portable home of nomads has been created. Its dismantling takes only half an hour, erection takes about an hour. The "khana" (wooden wall shell) is erected and the "uni" (rafters) are set and only then is the covering felt laid. The girth-ropes express future, present and past times, and the three generations. The valuable objects and religious altars are kept in "hoimor" opposite the door. Male belongings, including saddle and bridle as well as Morin Huur (horse-head fiddle) are kept in the western section, as it is occupied by men. Women occupy the eastern section, where they keep kitchen utensils in a rack. Ger looks like the terrestrial globe. Due to its round-form, it does not store bad energy in its corners. People who live in ger easily get asleep. And spending a night in ger quickly removes one's agitation and anger.


The main garment is the deel, a long, one-piece gown made from wool or silk. Most Mongolians have several different deels, appropriate for different seasons, as well as a more decorative deel for special occasions. Winter deels are often lined with sheep skin. The deel has a high collar, is often brightly colored, is worn with a multipurpose sash, and is worn by men and women year-round. Ethnic groups are differentiated by the color, decoration, and shape of their deel. The khantaaz is a shorter traditional jacket, often made of silk, which is also buttoned to the side, and usually worn over the deel. With regards to hats, the fur-trimmed hats, mostly made of sable, are popular. The gutul is a high boot made from thick leather and sometimes decorated ornately. They are easy to put on - both the left and right boot is the same shape. There exist many explanations for the curled, upturned toe.

Naadam Festival

The Naadam Festival, or Three Manly Games is the traditional nomadic culture, having a history of almost 2000 years since the Hunnu period. Naadam designed to test men's strength in the early years has become a national show Naadam nowadays. The focal point of the National Festival remains wrestling, archery and horseracing.

Dairy products

The main food of Mongolians is meat and dairy products. There is no other nation used to make so many various kinds of products out of milk and consume to such an extent like Mongolians. Later, Tibetians learned from Mongolians how to make dairy products.

Photo. Morin Khur. Mongolian national musical instrument.

Photo. Morin Khur. Mongolian national musical instrument.

Photo. Mongolian Traditional Dance.

Photo. Mongolian Traditional Dance.

Photo. Naadam Festival. Tsam - Religious Dances.

Photo. Naadam Festival. Tsam - Religious Dances.

Photo. Mongolian Circus.

Photo. Mongolian Circus.



- About Mongolia

- The state symbols of Mongolia

- Fact for visitor

- Geographical features 

- Climate

- History

- Population

- Language and writing

- Water reserve

- Flora and fauna

- Map of Mongolia


- Historical essentials of Mongolian culture

- Mongolian art and culture

- Mongolian script

- Mongolian music

- Fine art

- Mongolian theatre

- Mongolian dance

- Mongolian cinema

- National Circus


- Nomads cuisine

- Mongolian milk

- White food of the Mongol

- Mongolian ger

- Morin Khur

- Mongol Zurag New!!!

- Tsagaan sar

- Naadam festivale



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