Large and sparsely inhabited, Mongolia is a landlocked nation in eastern Asia that is located eastward of Kazakhstan, southward of Russia, and north of China. The nation is also referred to as the "Land of the Horse" as well as the "Land of the Eternal Blue Sky."
Numerous nomadic empires have governed the region according to Mongolian history. The Mongol Empire was established by Genghis Khan in 1206, and the Yuan dynasty was established in China by his grandson Kublai Khan.
Chingis Khan's former kingdom, Mongolia, has now opened up to the rest of the globe after escaping the clutches of communism. Mongolia is the place for you to go if you've ever wanted to immerse yourself in a wide desert and limitless Mongolian steppe, experience what it's like to live like a nomad in the steppes, and be overwhelmed by the warm friendliness of the locals!
Read out blog to learn more about why you should visit Mongolia, here.
Elegance can be found in both popular tourist destinations and surprising locales in Mongolia. One could not ask for more while surrounded by such wonderful views of unspoiled nature. But Mongolia also has several interesting archeological sites in Mongolia and things discovered over time.
In this blog, we will explain the ancient archaeological sites discovered in Mongolia by Archaeologists.
Since ancient times, Mongolia has been home to many different ethnic groups. The vast majority of those inhabitants were nomads who occasionally established powerful alliances. Modun Shanyu united the first of these, "the Xiongnu period", to create an alliance in 209 BC.
Chinggis Khan, also referred to as Genghis Khan, established the Mongol Empire in 1206, which was the biggest empire in history. The Mongol Empire's roughly 33 million square kilometer domain stretched from what is now Poland in the west to the Korean peninsula in the east, through Siberia in the north towards the Arab peninsula, and Vietnam in the south. Chinggis Khan's demise in 1227 led to the division of the Mongol Empire into 4 kingdoms.
Kublai Khan, a descendant of Chinggis Khan, according to Mongolian history, succeeded to the crown of one of the 4 empires that included modern-day China and Mongolia in 1260. The Yuan Dynasty was formally created by Kublai Khan in 1271. Up until the Chinese Ming Dynasty overthrew it in 1368, the Kingdom was the very first foreigner dynasty to dominate all of China.
The Mongol court eventually made it back to its home country, but decades of internal strife, development, and shrinkage caused them to succumb to the Manchu Qing dynasty. In 1636, they took control of Inner Mongolia. In 1691, outer Mongolia was offered. The Qing Dynasty dominated Mongolia for the following 200 years, up until 1911.
Under the leadership of Bogd Khan, the intellectual founder of Mongolian Tibetan Buddhism, Mongolia proclaimed its sovereignty in 1911. The Chinese government still continued to regard "Outer Mongolia" as a part of its territory and annexed it in 1919.
With the assistance of the Russian Red Army, the People's Revolution was successful in Mongolia in 1921, making it the 2nd socialist nation in the world. The Mongolian People's Republic was established and the very first Constitution was ratified following Bogd Khan's passing in 1924.
Mongolia has evolved over the past 20 years from a socialist nation with a designed economic system to a thriving multi-party democratic state with one of the fastest-growing countries in the world.
Archaeological Sites Discovered In Mongolia
Mongolian Archaeologists Ruins of Karakorum - Imperial City
The archaeological site of the Karakorum, also known as Kharkhorin, the historic capital of the Mongols, is situated around the Orkhon Valley in the modern-day Mongolian province of Vörkhangai. The city's inhabitants included Muslim merchants, Chinese artisans, and captives from all over the Mongolian Empire, according to a primary historical source penned by Franciscan friar William of Rubruck in 1254.
Under Genghis Khan's guidance, a number of nomadic tribes came together in the Mongol heartland to become the Mongols, who went on to establish a vast empire in the 13th and 14th centuries AD that spanned most of Central Mongolia as well as Eastern Europe, Asia, and extended southern into the Indian subcontinent.
When Genghis Khan built a village of yurts at the Karakorum to gather his warriors for his battles against the Khwarezm Empire, settling started approximately AD 1218–1220.
During the rule of gedei Khan (the 3rd child of Genghis Khan and the 2nd Great Khan of the Mongol Empire), Karakorum transformed into a city. He built the Tumen Amgalan Ord palace in AD 1235, as well as a number of places of religious rituals for his Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist, as well as Christian followers, and also gardens, lakes, and residences that were surrounded by an earthen wall. Under Gedei and his descendants, Karakorum developed into the Mongols' traditional capital as well as a significant hub for the Silk Road's mercantile traffic and various religious communities.
Karakorum - The Abandoned City
Despite the fact that charismatic monuments predominate in early iron age and Bronze Age Mongolia archaeology, current research has started to tackle the question of settlements as well as settlement structures, in regard to both the characteristics of these communities and the contribution that nomadic pastoralism made to their structure. However, the fact is that archaeological material is becoming a general part of Mongolian Archaeology.
A landscape of 465 hectares was surveyed over the course of 52 days by lead researcher Jan Bemmann, an archaeologist at the University of Bonn, with his crew. The new topographic map was made using a SQUID, or superconducting quantum interference device that measured underground magnetic fields. The scientists then used this information to create a thorough picture of Karakorum's density and structure by combining it with aerial photos, old documents, and earlier surveys.
Learn more about touring Karakorum in our blog, here.
The Mongol capital actually extended considerably farther into the Orkhon River valleys than was previously believed, according to Bemmann's research. The area is covered by settlements, production sites, housing, and other networks. Therefore, we are discussing an imperial valley as well as an imperial city.
In an interview with the Art Newspaper, Bemmann mentions that the new map enables scholars to pinpoint the locations of former roadways and substantial brick buildings. Within the city walls, the team discovered a number of affluent districts.
According to the archaeological research, "the significant benefit from their study is that they can finally view the design of the abandoned city in amazing depth, both above surface and below the surface."
Erdene Zuu Monastery and Kharkhorin
Genghis Khan resided in the ancient city of Karakorum in the 13th and 14th centuries. For visitors who enjoy seeing historical monuments, this location contains architectural ruins from as far back as the sixth century.
A 2-mile stroll will take you to the Erdene Zuu Monastery, which was constructed in 1586, and is a true gem of architecture. Altai Khan established it as Mongolia's first Buddhist monastery. The Buddha Zuu, Zuun Zuu, and Baruun Zuu are the three prominent temples of Erdene Zuu. They represent the three primary ages in Buddha's life: infancy, adolescence, and manhood. Thanks to its exquisite design, white walls, and intricate, multicolored roofs, Erdene Zuu does have a distinctive appearance.
At Shoroon Bumbagar of Bayannuur Soum in Bulgan Province, a joint team of Mongolian archaeologists and Kazakhstan uncovered the tomb of a prominent aristocrat of the ancient Uyghur nomadic tribe in 2011. It dates back to the later sixth to early seventh century AD of Mongolian history. At that period, Mongolian land was home to the Uyghur Kingdom.
It is quite uncommon for the tomb to not have been completely robbed. The mausoleum was discovered during the excavations to be made up of a gate, a cabin, four dwellings, the collar, a mausoleum, as well as a mound of soil atop the tomb. Around 500 artifacts total, including 170 pieces of gold, more than 100 pieces of pottery, 100 pieces of metal, 100 pieces of wood carving, and 100 pieces of bronze and silver, were found in the tomb.
Read our blog about Shankh Monastery.
Throughout the investigations, a mural artwork with 24 soldiers, a white tiger, a blue dragon, two saddled horses, and an ancient flag was discovered. It was discovered far north of the internment tomb. The historical, economical, religious, cultural, and aesthetic transformations, as well as the traditional Mongolian tribes' values, are all depicted in the murals paintings, and archaeological artifacts. The Khangai Mountains were added to the region with mural paintings as a result of this significant exploration.
Amarbayasgalant Monastery is one of the three biggest Buddhist temples in the region and is another stunning monastic complex. It was built between 1727 and 1736 to be Zanabazar's final burial place after his remains were brought to the monastery around 1779.
Read our blog about National Museum of Mongolia to learn more about the culture and history.
It is situated at the base of Mount Burenkhan in the Iven Valley close to the Selenge River. The monastic building, which originally included 40 temples, was intended to have a symmetrical layout with the primary buildings running down the North-South axis and the secondary structures running along adjacent sides. It's an amazing architectural achievement that contrasts the steppe landscape brilliantly.
Burial of Noyon Mountain
One of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century is a tomb from the Xiongnu era located in Noyon Mountain, Tuv province. Around 200 burials from the Hunnu Empire were found on Noyon Mountain in 1924–1925 by a Mongolian–Tibetan excavation group headed by PK Kozlov, who also unearthed some incredibly rare historical objects from Tomb 6.
You migh also want to read about Manzushir Monastery in Tuv province.
The majority of the Noyon Uul artifacts unearthed are currently on show at the Hermitage Museum, but some bronze age Mongolia relics discovered afterward by Mongolian archaeologists are on exhibit at Ulaanbaatar's National Museum of Mongolian History.
Mongolia Deer Stones
There are numerous megaliths scattered across the plains of Northern Mongolia (Arkhangai, Bulgan, Khvosgol, Byanakhongor, as well as Zavkhan) and Southern Siberia that features enigmatic engravings that appear to show flying reindeer. Throughout the late Bronze and Early Iron Ages, Deer Stones, a form of monument, were initially discovered in some regions of Eurasia.
Deer stones can be found at different places across Mongolia, including:
These vertical stone slabs, also referred to as deer stones, are 3-15 feet in height, can be found in tiny or dense groups, and are frequently found near khirgisuur, or stone burial mounds.
Approximately 900 deer stones may be found in Central Asia and South Siberia, with 700 of those being found in Mongolia alone. These impressive structures are said to have been built by Bronze Age nomads some 3000 years ago.
Bilge Khan and General Kul Tegin complex
The Kultegin memorial monument is situated 60 kilometers north of Erdenezuu Monastery in Kharhorin, towards the Tsaidam valley of Khashaat soum, Arkhangai aimag. Kultegin was the well-known monarch of the Eastern Turkic Kingdom. Over 40 runic stelae have been discovered in Mongolia, but only around 10 of them are found in the Orkhon Valley, hence the name Orkhon Inscription. Elteress' second child was Kultegin.
In Mongolian territory between the sixth and eighth centuries, the Tureg was in charge. For more than a century, this monument has been examined under the names of the Khushuu Tsaidam monument, the Orkhon Valley Monument, the Kultegin Inscription, the Bilge Khaan Monument, and others.
Tuvkhun Monastery, another of Mongolia's oldest Buddhist monasteries, is absolutely worth a visit, particularly if you're traveling via Kharkhorin. It was founded in 1648 by Zanabazar, who at the time had just turned 14 and was considered the spiritual leader of Buddhism through Outer Mongolia. The monastery ultimately served as Zanabazar's residential retreat and had a turbulent history following his passing. Now that it is a UNESCO World Culture Heritage Site, it thrills visitors.
Inscription of Yanran
The Writing in Mount Yanran is an inscription written by Eastern Han dynasty Chinese historian Ban Gu and engraved by the commander Dou Xian in 89 BC to celebrate Dou's victory over the nomadic Hunnu Empire on a cliff in the Yanran Mountains. The writing was rediscovered by archaeologists in the Baruun Ilgen hills, which are south of Inel (Delgerkhangai) mountain in the Gobi desert of Dundgovi Province, Mongolia. The text is from the imperial history book of the 5th century, the Book of Later Han.
In ancient China, cliff inscriptions on the Baruun Ingen hills, located south of the Inel (Delgerkhangai) mountains, were frequently utilized to chronicle military victories. One of the most well-known is the Yanran inscription. One of the highest accomplishments of military generals was the statement "to chisel a stone on Yanran." This is the oldest rock carving discovered in Mongolia.
Equestrian Statue of Genghis Khan
The Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue, which is a component of the Genghis Khan Statue Complex, stands on the riverbank of the Tuul River to the east of Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. It stands 131 feet high atop the 10-foot-tall visitor center.
There are exhibits to see in the complex's museum in addition to the stunning view sight from the peak of the horseman monument. Visitors can take in displays of artifacts from the Bronze Age and exhibitions that focus on the reign of Genghis Khan.
Despite Mongolia's breathtaking natural beauty, there are many intriguing man-made monuments to view that add to the trip's unforgettable qualities.
Inscription of Turkic Period in Mongolia
During their three-year (2015-2017) joint excavation, the Japanese and Mongolian teams found the remains of a singular monument encircled by 14 sizable rock foundations with Turkic Runic inscriptions organized in a square area on a steppe named Dongoin Shiree in eastern Mongolia (Tuvshinshiree soum, Sukhbaatar province).
Read about Bilge Khan’s Monument - arechological site.
The monument's construction, which consists of a stone coffin in the center of the mound, flanked by 14 pillars of stone with inscriptions, is its most notable feature. And over 100 inscriptions have carvings that represent the ancient Turkic tribes. A few of the biggest inscriptions ever found in Mongolia were dug.
This unusual structure is thought to have been constructed in the 8th century, around the Late Second Ancient Turkic Qaghanate. These discoveries demonstrate that the eastern region of the ancient Turkic Qaghanate, whose first whereabouts remained unknown from materials documented in Chinese and Turkic writings, was centered on the Dongoin Shiree steppe, where the distinctive monument ruins still stand.
This monument demonstrates the political and military connections between the kings of the Turkic Qaghanate's eastern region and the Mongolian tribes known as the Khitan, Tatabi, and Tatar. Additionally, the stone pillars on the plateau offer enormous detail for examining the ancient nomads' religious beliefs and worldviews.
Zaisan Hill is the ideal fusion of traditional and modern design. It was formerly best known for the Zaisan Hill Monument, a stunning circular building on top of the hill with a painting honoring friendly Mongol and Soviet soldiers who died in World War II. The hill now houses a sizable contemporary complex with a wealth of amenities for both locals and visitors.
Ancient Mongolian skull Found in Mongolia
According to a recent study from the University of Oxford, a much-debated ancient human skull from Mongolia has been genetically and chronologically analyzed, proving that it is the earliest modern human to have been discovered in the area. Originally thought to be a modern human, Mongolanthropus actually lived 34–35 thousand years ago.
The Salkhit Valley in northeastern Mongolia is home to the only known Pleistocene fossil, the skullcap. The nasal bones and brow ridges are part of the nearly finished skullcap. Due to the presence of old or archaic traits, the specimen has occasionally been associated with unidentified archaic human species like Homo erectus & Neanderthals.
Turkic Inscriptions in Orkhon Valley
The Orkhon inscriptions, also known as the Kul Tigin steles, are twin memorial structures constructed by the Göktürks in the earlier eighth century in the Mongolian Orkhon Valley. They are inscribed in the Old Turkic alphabet. They were built as monuments to Kultegin & his brother Bilge Khagan, two Turkic princes.
The inscriptions, written in both Old Turkic and Chinese, describe the mythical beginnings of the Turks, their glorious past, their oppression by the Chinese, and their independence by Ilterish Qaghan. In particular, one source claims that the inscriptions have "rhythmic & parallelistic sequences" which are similar to those found in epics.
The inscriptions were found by Nikolay Yadrintsev's expedition in 1889, and Vasily Radlov publicized the findings. Although the scripts are alphabetical, rune carvings also seem to have had a significant influence. The inscriptions are an excellent illustration of the early changes made by nomadic societies from the usage of runes to a standard alphabet, which had an impact on the development of the Sogdian language and the Uighur script. The Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape in Mongolia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and these inscriptions are a part of it.
Chandmani Mountain - Early Iron Age
The early Mongolian nomads who lived in the Early Iron Age (600–300 BCE) discovered and used iron. Chandmani Mountain in the Uvs aimag is one of the most significant archaeological sites from this time. Archaeologists discovered various distinctive metal and iron items as well as several burials in wooden coffins while excavating the site's irregularly organized burials.
Dinosaur Fossils Discovered in Mongolia
The world's biggest repository of dinosaur fossils is located in Mongolia's Gobi Desert. The area is particularly significant in terms of dinosaur fossils from the late Cretaceous era, the last of the dinosaur age's three major periods, and the point at which dinosaur existence came to an end.
The first dinosaur eggs were discovered in Bayanzag in 1920 by American scientist Roy Chapman Andrews. The distance between Bayanzag and Dalanzadgad Town in the Omnogobi Province is 110 kilometers. Their research provided conclusive evidence that dinosaurs produced eggs. Bayanzag translates to "rich in saxaul," a 2 to 9-meter tall, critically endangered tree native to Central Asia, whose roots are the longest for protection.
In 1965, a Polish-Mongolian expedition discovered the first specimens of this unusual creature's fossils in Tugrugiin Shiree. Bulgan Soum, Omnogobi province, lies 30 kilometers from the Tugrugiin Shiree, a white escarpment. They named it because of a set of two enormous forelimbs with three enormous claws on each arm.
The "Fighting Dinosaurs" fossils, which show a Protoceratops and a Velociraptor engaged in the fight, were the most well-known find from Tugrugiin Shiree and were made by a Polish-Mongolian expedition in the 1970s. These fossils are now on exhibition in Mongolia's Natural History Museum.
Khermen tsav is a native land of dinosaurs. In this location, the first complete dinosaur skeleton was discovered.
Natural wonders abound in the Gobi, and one of them is Khermen Tsav, a stunning canyon built of red mud rocks. In the far northwest of the soum of Omnogovi, among Mount Sharig to the north and Mount Altan to the south, the magnificent stone structures of Khermen Tsav are situated 460 kilometers from Dalanzadgad town approximately 150 kilometers from the north side of Gurvantes soum.
What is the most famous archeological site?
One of the most well-known archaeological sites from bronze age Mongolia is the Yanran inscription. The oldest rock inscription discovered in Mongolia reads, "to carve a stone on Yanran," which was considered one of the finest accomplishments of military generals.
What is the greatest archaeological find ever?
The best archaeological find of 2020 was an old city that was unearthed on the grounds of Ulziit soum in Arkhangai aimag and is thought to be the remnants of Luut (Luncheng), the capital of the Khunnu Empire (Xiongnu Empire).
What is the oldest archaeological site in the world?
Theopetra Cave is the oldest archaeological site in the world as of 2012 when experts discovered that humans had been residing there for more than 135,000 years. This discovery came after decades of investigation and excavations.
What is Karakorum called now?
The archaeological site of the Karakorum, also known as Kharkhorin, the historic capital of the Mongols, is situated in the Orkhon Valley in the modern-day Mongolian province of Vörkhangai.
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