Mongolia Overview

Monggol Ulus
Official language Mongolian
Capital Ulan Bator
Form of government parliamentary constitution with multi-party system
Area 1,566,500 km²
Residents 2,790,000
Currency Togrog
Time zone UTC + 7, UTC + 8
License plate MGL
Internet TLD .mn
Telephone area code 00976 (Source: ALLCITYCODES)


Mongolia (officially: Monggol Ulus) is located in Central Asia and extends over an area of ​​1,566,500 km² from the coniferous belt of the Siberian taiga to the Asian desert belt in the south (which lies on the latitude of the French Riviera). The country borders Russia in the north and China in the south. In the west, the national territory is bordered by the Altai Mountains, in the east by the Great Chingan Mountain Range. The interior of the country is largely occupied by the Gobi Desert. The north of the country is geographically known as “Outer Mongolia”, politically as the Mongolian Republic (until 1992 “Mongolian People’s Republic”), the south is called “Inner Mongolia” and belongs to the People’s Republic of China as an autonomous region.

Most parts of the country of the Republic of Mongolia are more than 1,000 m above sea level, the lowest point in the country is still 518 m high with the Hoh Nuur. The average height is 1.580 m. The highest mountain ranges are the Altai Mountains in the western and south-western area and the Hangaynnuruu Mountains, which are older and lower in geological history. Other mountain ranges are the Hentiyn Nuruu Mountains (on the Soviet border) and the central massif of the Changai and Chentij Mountains, which is located in the north of Ulaanbaatar. The highest mountain is the Nayramdal Uur at 4,374 m.

In addition to the mountainous regions, there is a valley near the Altai Mountains with some lakes containing salt water, a central region (the fertile Selenge Tune Basin), a high plateau in the north and the Gobi Desert in the east and south.


The climate is characterized by the different regions of desert, altitude and inland. This is expressed by long, dry winters and short summers with little rainfall. The precipitation decreases continuously from north to south, around 210 mm are measured annually in Ulan Bator. The vegetation period falls in the short summer time of four months. The average temperatures in the “coldest capital of the world” Ulaanbaatar in January are -26 °C (but also up to -40 °C in winter nights), in summer they are around 16 °C (in the southern part of the Gobi desert up to 38 °C). Large areas of the country have permafrost that can reach up to 250 m deep. There are extreme temperature differences in Mongolia both seasonally and daily. In addition, the weather is very changeable compared to the previous year, Especially the rains can vary greatly from year to year. The large temperature fluctuations sometimes lead to violent thunderstorms and spring storms.

Flora and fauna

The mountains in the north have alpine flora, coniferous forests (spruce, larch, fir and pine) grow on the rivers. In the south of the country there are forest steppes that pass over desert-like steppes into the Gobi desert. Only about 1% of the state is fertile enough for agriculture, almost 10% are covered by trees, the rest consists of pasture and desert. The Selenge river in the valley of the same name ensures a largely secure water supply. Nevertheless, the vegetation varies greatly depending on the seasonal rainfall and frost. Blizzards provide snow and ice, especially in winter, despite the numerous cloudless days, which leads to the loss of grazing animals.

The Gobi desert is an extremely arid region, which in some years has no rain at all. The Gobi desert consists of 80% dry grass steppes and 20% stone desert. The vegetation here cannot feed mammals other than the undemanding camels. The very fragile pasture ecosystem can easily be destroyed by overgrazing and then becomes a stone desert. The east of Mongolia is occupied by a plain that extends from the Gobi in the south to the eastern border. One of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia, the Hovsgol, is also located here. The republic also has numerous salt lakes, swamps, sand dunes, undulating grasslands and permanent mountain glaciers.

A species-rich fauna has been preserved in the deserted and often inaccessible regions. Lynxes, bears, wolves, elk and red deer live in the northern regions, ibexes, antelopes, gazelles and Mongolian half-donkeys live in the steppes. A small population of endangered snow leopards can be found in the mountainous regions of the Altai.


The country is almost five times the size of Germany, but with 2.79 million residents it is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. A little more than half of the residents live in cities, a quarter in rural settlements. The rest of the population are nomads who, with their traditional way of life and free-running herds, are optimally adapted to the extreme living conditions. The capital Ulan Bator with around 943,000 residents is the largest city in Mongolia. Check ALLCITYPOPULATION to see other large cities in Mongolia by population. Over 90% of the population are Mongolians, three quarters of them belong to the Eastern Mongols (Chalcha). Other Mongolian ethnic groups are Bajat, Burjat, Dariganga, Dsachtschin, Durwut, Öölt and Torgut. Today more Mongolians live outside than within the Mongolian territory:Almost 5 million Mongols live as a minority within China in Inner Mongolia’s autonomous region, as well as in Russia and Afghanistan. The largest minority in Mongolia are the members of the Turkic peoples (Kazakhs and Urianchaj), alongside there are numerous Russians and Chinese. According to COUNTRYAAH, 90% of the Mongols speak the official official language, Khalkha-Mongolian, and Turkish, Chinese, Russian and Kazakh are also spoken.

Half of the population describes themselves as non-denominational. Among the faithful there are mainly followers of Lamaism (state religion until 1929) and a few Christians and shamanists. Lamaism came into the country from Tibet in the 16th century and replaced shamanism. Followers of Islam can be found particularly among the Kazakhs in the southwest.

Mongolia’s population grows by an average of 1.2%; life expectancy is around 65 years. Almost 98% of Mongols can read and write.

mongolia population density

Political system

The Republic of Mongolia has a parliamentary constitution (from 1992) and a multi-party system. The president (since June 2009 Tsachiagiin Elbegdordsch) is elected head of state for four years with a maximum of one re-election directly by the people. The parliament (Grand State Hural) has 76 deputies who are elected by the people for four years and who appoint the prime minister (since August 2012 Norowyn Altanchujag).

The Mongolian legal system is a mixture of the Russian, German and American systems.

The territory of Mongolia is divided into 21 provinces (Aimguud) and one city district (Hot). The provinces are divided into several districts (Somons), which consist of several sub-districts (bags).


Mongolia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, work from a low level. Since the early 1990s, over 85% of small businesses, most medium-sized companies and some large state-owned companies have been privatized. Most of the livestock were also in private hands. The privatization also affects the transport and energy sectors, housing and real estate, and the banking system. The change in system from a communist planned economy to a market economy, however, left large gaps in the once well-developed social network that have not yet been resolved. Almost 40% of the population still live below the poverty line. An important factor is the remittances of Mongolians working abroad.

The importance of agriculture is declining (17% of GDP). Animal breeding with cattle, camels, horses, sheep and goats is of particular importance here. The wide grassland is used as a natural pasture. There is little arable land available for climatic reasons. Wheat, potatoes and vegetables are grown here.

With the beginning of the exploitation of the rich raw material deposits (coal, petroleum, iron ore, tin, copper, gold, silver, fluorspar and molybdenum), the share of the industrial sector in economic output is growing rapidly. Industrial processing and manufacturing in Mongolia is rather small. Exports are almost entirely delivered to China. Imports – machines, vehicles and fuels, food and consumer goods, sugar and tea – come mainly from China, Russia and the USA.

There is a need to catch up in expanding the infrastructure, telecommunications and energy supply. In addition to imports from Russia, thermal power plants (primarily coal-based) are used to supply energy.

In Mongolia, as a landlocked country, the international airport Chinggis Khaan in the area of ​​Ulan Bator is of particular importance (the nearest seaport is 1,500 km away in Tianjin, China).

The currency is the togrog.