Mongolia History and Culture

Mongolia History and Culture

The Mongol ruler Genghis Khan

Mongolia has always been an area where people did not easily survive. In ancient times, shepherds migrated through the country as nomads, but they did not settle anywhere. There were small cities that were under the influence of China. The famous Mongol ruler Genghis Khan (1155-1227) managed to unite the Mongolian tribes into one great empire in the Middle Ages. A state and a world empire of gigantic size emerged. It stretched from Central Europe to the Far East.

Successes of his successors

Genghis Khan’s grandson Kublai Khan (1215-1294) even conquered China and founded the Chinese Yuan Dynasty in 1271. He triumphed over the Song Dynasty, so that China was united under a Mongol prince in 1279 and the Mongol Empire was a huge world empire. Under Kublai Khan, Tibet also came under Chinese administration and since the ruler was a Buddhist himself, he made Buddhism the state religion.

End of the Mongol Empire

But the power of the Mongols over their empire did not last forever and in 1691 the remnants of the Mongolian empire came to China. From 1691 to 1911, Mongolia and China came under the rule of the Manchu (see also History in China). In 1911 Mongolia declared its independence, but was under the strong influence of Russia. In 1924 the Mongolian People’s Republic was established, which remained under the influence of the Soviet Union. In the meantime the Russian Revolution had taken place.

A socialist Mongolia?

The dependence on Russia led to the desire to turn Mongolia into a modern socialist state, and the nomads who moved through the country and lived traditionally did not fit in with this. In 1937/1938 so-called “purges” of the Soviet leader Stalin took place in Mongolia. So one smashed nomadism and killed many people in the process. These purges were also directed against culture and religion. In the course of these purges, Buddhist monks were also murdered and many valuable cultural assets and monasteries were destroyed.

Republic of Mongolia

In 1990 the communist government in Mongolia abdicated. From the one-party state to a developed democracy. The market economy prevailed. In 1992 a constitution was passed. The People’s Republic of Mongolia was renamed the Republic of Mongolia, a country located in Asia according to extrareference.

Who is who?

Red: Expansion under Genghis Khan and his successors Successor kingdoms 1294: Yellow – Golden Horde: After the Mongol invasion between 1237 and 1240, the Golden Horde became one of the late medieval great powers in Eastern Europe. Dark green – Chagatai Khanate: The Chagatai Khanate was ruled by the Genghisids. Light green – Il-Chane: The Il-Chane dynasty was Islamic and spread over Persia, Mesopotamia, parts of Central Asia and Anatolia. Purple – Yuan Dynasty: The Yuan Dynasty was a Mongolian imperial family, which also ruled over China.

Mongolia History

Typical Mongolia

The Naadam festival

Once a year the Mongols celebrate their most important festival, which is called Naadam. Here you meet relatives and look forward to being together. “Three games for men” means Naadam in translation. The prelude is a race across the endless expanses of grassland. At this festival, which is also a competition, there are three sports in which the Mongols compete: horse riding, archery and wrestling. Children also take part in the competitions. The winners receive recognition from the entire clan. Those who prevail in the local Naadam fights can then also take part in the festival in the capital.

Family traditions

In Mongolia, by the way, young children are breastfed by their mothers for a long time. This is practical, especially with the nomadic peoples, because baby and toddler food is always there. The Mongols believe that a child who is fed breast milk for a long time will later grow bigger and stronger than all other children. By the way, Mongolian children see their parents as they are, that is the custom. When the Mongols go on a trip, they splash milk afterwards to make it a successful trip.

Cashmere from Mongolia

The fine undercoat of the cashmere goat grows very well in the cold of Mongolia. Gray, brown, white and black are the colors. At the end of winter it is combed out and processed. For a sweater you need the undercoat of four goats. Cashmere fabrics are very expensive because they cannot be easily mass-produced because the processing and production of the soft fabric is very tedious. In Mongolia, cashmere is mainly worn because it is very warm.

Mongolian sumo wrestler

Did you know that many sumo wrestlers are Mongolians? You may have seen sumo wrestlers fight each other. This martial art originally comes from Japan and is more than 2000 years old. Sumo means something like “fight back”. Here you have to push the opponent out of a defined area or bring him off balance so that he falls over or does not just touch the ground with his feet. This can happen very quickly, so sumo wrestlers’ tournaments often consist of many short fights.

The sumo wrestlers train as children. In Japan and other Asian countries and of course Mongolia, people love to watch this sport. It also makes a lot of money in the fights of the best wrestlers. But the price that the athletes pay for it is high. You have to eat a lot to get that weight. It’s a really bad thing with children, because they weigh too much at a young age. The long-term consequences are often high blood pressure, diabetes or damage to the joints. And the training is very tough. In Japan and Mongolia, however, successful sumo wrestlers are revered like many footballers here. That is why one or the other accepts this torture.

What is a horse head violin?

Morin Khuur is the name of a traditional instrument in Mongolia. There is a legend about how it came about. A Mongol loved his deceased horse so much that he had it built into an instrument, a violin. For this he used his head, bones and tail hair, these served as strings.

A horse head violin always consists of two strings and is used in many traditional Mongolian chants. To play the violin, songs are sung and the old spirits are often conjured up. The horse head fiddle is also an important national symbol of Mongolia.