Mongolia is located in the Northern hemisphere temperate zone. Located at an average altitude of 1500 metres above sea level, separated from the oceans and surrounded by high mountains that block wet winds, Mongolia has an extreme continental climate. Winter is long, with cold temperatures, but summer is hot and short.

Mongolia enjoys more than 260 sunny days per year, which means it’s one of the sunniest countries in the world. In winter, the sky keeps its intense blue colour but combines with biting cold.


From November to March, it’s winter and temperatures regularly fall under 30°C (86°F). It’s a dry cold, and, with a good equipment, it’s possible to visit Mongolia in that period.


April and May are transitional months. It’s spring. The climate is certainly getting warmer but it’s the sandstorms period: being caught by a storm in Gobi desert can be an unforgettable experience. May is reputed to be the most unsettled month; the four seasons can pass in a single day… From which the Mongolian motto: « beware of the morning sun ».

The reward for the traveller is that spring is the period when the livestock gives birth, which entails a great activity in the countryside (shearing-time).

Summer and autumn 

Then come the four most pleasant months for a trip to Mongolia: June, July, August, September.
From June, temperatures are higher than 20°C (68°F) and it’s pleasant to visit Mongolia. June and July are the most humid months and showers in the end of the afternoons are frequent, notably in Khovsgol.
June and September are the most favourable months to visit Gobi.
In July, the steppe takes her nice green colour and keeps it for about two months.
From the 15th of August, night temperatures significantly drop with frost risk, but the days remain pleasant with temperatures varying between 15°C and 25°C (59-77°F), and this lasts until mid-September.
In this period, there’s also a risk of snow at high altitude (Naiman Nuur Park for example).

The Mongolian language belongs to Ural-Altaic languages with Turkish, Khazakh, Uzbek, Finnish and Korean languages.

It’s an agglutinative language, which means that words are formed adding suffixes to a basis. Mongolian words are either masculine or feminine, according to the vowels they have: А, У et О are masculine vowels, while Э, Ү et Ө are feminine. Words can’t have at the same time masculine and feminine vowels.

The evolution of the Mongolian language can be understood studying the Mongolian traditional writing (Uyghur), because it kept the orthography of the Mongolian language used many centuries ago. Beforehand, vowels and consons were alternated, but in the modern Mongolian language, some syllables have been removed, so that this rule does not exist anymore and long vowels have been created. For example, the word “khan” comes from the former word “khagan”.

The Mongolian traditional script dates from the 9th or 10th century. It’s based on Uyghur alphabet. It’s only from the 12th century that the latter became the official script. The oldest example of the Mongolian script is the “Genghis stone”, a monument that Genghis Khan made build in 1224 in the honour of Prince of Yesunge, who had hit a target from a distance of 335 ald (536 metres, 1758 feet) during a warriors’ competition.

After the Mongolian-Uyghur script, other scripts were created and used in Mongolia.

The first of them was the horizontal square script. Kubilai Khan asked Pagma Lama to create a new script in order to increase alphabetisation in the Yuan Empire. The script he created was called “the new writing”. Books were given to schools and at the end of the 1260’s, the revenues of the taxes were given to those who were studying this script. A decreet obliged the official orders from monasteries (1270) and from government (1273) to use this alphabet. But despite its ambitious aims, it could not manage to replace the other scripts used in the empire.


Le soyombo, la première lettre de l'alphabet traditionnel Mongol

In 1648, Zaya Bandida created a new alphabet called tod or “clear writing” to propose a variant to Uyghur script. He aimed to solve one of the problems of the Mongolian writing: a single letter could have several possible pronunciations. His aim was to connect the spoken language and the written language that had become very dissimilar after several centuries of stagnation of the written language. The new writing was called “clear” because, unlike Uyghur script, it made a clear differentiation between the seven vowels and between the consons that beforehand were written with the same letter. Many documents have been writing with this script, but it never spread out.

An important script used for the translation of religious sutras was the “soyombo” alphabet, created by Ondor Gegen Zanabazar. It had 90 letters corresponding to Khalkh pronunciation. With this alphabet, it was possible to transcribe Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Mongolian.

The Manchu script is another variation of the Mongolian script. Norkhatsi Erdene and his assistant Gagai created this alphabet in 1599.

Until 1940, almost all Mongolians used the former script (Uyghur), but in 1946, the Cyrillic alphabet became official in Popular Republic of Mongolia. Beforehand, in the 1930’s, it had been decided to use the Latin alphabet and some books and newspapers had been printed with Latin letters. But this project had finally been given up.

In 1990, the government tried to set again the former script as official script, without success.

Nowadays, the classic script is still used in Inner Mongolia.

In the early 2016, Mongolia celebrated the birth of the three millionth Mongolian people.

Mongolia is placed 121st in terms of global population. It’s the country that has the lowest density of population in the world, with only 1,8 inhabitant per square kilometre, behind Namibia (2,5 inh./sq. km.).

The population growth rate is estimated at 1,2 % (2007). About 59 % of the population is under age 30, 27 % of whom are under 14. This quite young and growing population places strains on Mongolia’s economy.

Landlocked between the Chinese and Russian giants, Mongolia is a special country. It recalls the times when the Mongolians were feared because of their extraordinary skill at fight (let’s remember that they created the largest empire the humanity has known). But these times are in the past. Today Genghis Khan’s vast empire doesn’t exist anymore, but the country remains large: about twelve times the size of England or two times and a half the size of Texas. Excluding Ulan Bator, Mongolia has a density of population surprisingly low: less than 0,5 inhabitants per square kilometre.


This is a little introduction to Mongolia.