Mongolia’s Cultural Heritage



It is a national honor for any country to have its intangible cultural treasures inscribed on UNESCO’s world heritage list. It is important to promote the cultural heritage at the local, national and international levels, preserve, protect, restore, and promote it. At present, a total of 21 heritage items are inscribed on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage and world heritage lists.

Folk Art

 Mongolians are nation with the great culture of folk art and embraces national customs and traditions. The traditional music of the Morin Khuur (horse head fiddle) and the traditional long song were first inscribed in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity in 2008. Subsequently, the Biyelgee (traditional folk dance), traditional music of the Tsuur (end-blown flute) and Khuumei or throat singing have been included. For instance, the Morin Khuur carries the culture and traditions of Mongolians and it’s traditionally played at festivals, wedding, ceremonies and livestock rituals. There were times when the Morin Khuur neglected by young people and children as instruments such as guitar, piano and violin became more popular. However, its inscription in UNESCO’s list in 2008, the interest in folk art among young rose and they started to learn play Morin Khuur.

The Mongolian Folk Bands’ concert show has been organized under the auspicious of former president of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj since 2012. Every concert has a symbolic name with deep meaning. For instance, the concert was entitled “Mongolia” in 2012. “Mongolia Endless” in 2013, “Mongolia-ever burning” in 2014, “Mongolia Adamant” in 3015, “Heaven imprinted Mongolia” in 2016 and “Ekh Undarga” (headspring) in 2017 and 2018. It is also remarkable that the ethnic bands play significant role in promoting Mongolian culture.

Particular mention can be made of the “Khusugtun” band, which is successfully promoting Mongolia abroad and has won the heart of millions. As several types of Mongolian folk art have been registered on World Heritage List, such promotions are increasing.


Living Legacy of Ancient Art

The memories of the past, reminiscences based on nomadic traditions and culture all together form the shape of co-called Mongolian existence. And specific features of these memories are defined in books and chronicles.

For the purpose of preserving and preventing the destruction of our documentary heritage, sutras were submitted by Mongolia for inclusion in the memory of the World Register of the Memory of the World Programme established in 1992 the sutras, “Lu” “Altan Tobchi” “Mongolian Tanjur” “Kanjur” and “Great Deity Tara” are kept in National library of Mongolia.

As stated in President Decree No.158 of 2010, national Book Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of September every year. The favorite event of bookworms is celebrated nationwide and copies of sutras are presented to the young readers. In 2013, the Presidential Office implemented the online library project expanding operations of the National Library reading rooms. The project enabled online access to rare sutras “Lu”,“Altan Tobchi” and Mongolian Tanjur”.

The national legacy of the country is also a world heritage. However, it is important not only to inscribe the heritage on UNESCO’s lists, but also promote and publicize it at home; it is commendable that numerous actions are being undertaken in this regard.

The Mongolian Intangible Cultural Heritage inscribed in the UNESCO lists are presented  

Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

  1. Mongolian traditional practices of worshipping the sacred sites (2017)
  2. Coaxing ritual for camels (2015)
  3. Mongolian Calligraphy (2013)
  4. Folk long performance technique of Limbe performances-circular breathing (2011)
  5. Mongol Tuuli, Mongolian epic (2009)
  6. Mongol Biyelgee, Mongolian traditional folk dance (2009)
  7. Traditional music of Tsuur (2009)

The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

  1. Falconry, a living human heritage (2010)
  2. Mongolian knuckle-bone shooting (2014)
  3. Traditional craftsmanship of the Mongol Ger and its associated customs (2013)
  4. Naadam, Mongolian traditional festival (2010)
  5. Mongolian traditional art of Khuumei (2010)
  6. Traditional music of the Morin Khuur (2008 originally proclaimed in 2003)
  7. Urtiin Duu, traditional folk long song (2008 originally proclaimed in 2005)

 World Heritage Convention 1972

A world Heritage Site is a landmark, which has been officially recognized by the United Nations, specifically by UNESCO. Sites are selected on the basis of having cultural, historical, and scientific or some other form of significance; they legally protected by international treaties. UNESCO regards these sites as being important to the collective interests of humanity. To date, five sites, including three cultural and two natural, has been inscribed from Mongolia. On site, the Uvs Nuur Basin is a trans boundary site including areas in both Mongolia and Russia and is one of the largest sites inscribed as a World Heritage.

Properties inscribed on the world Heritage list from Mongolia are as following:

Cultural three

  1. The Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and its surrounding sacred landscape (2015)
  2. Orkhon valley Cultural Landscape (2004)
  3. Petro-glyphic Complexes of the Mongolian Altai (2011)

Natural two

  1. Uvs Nuur Basin (2003)
  2. Landscapes of Dauria (2017)



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on Dec 11, 2018