UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mongolia
UNESCO World Heritage Sites were created in 1978 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). They began designating important sites around the globe as part of an effort to preserve the world’s cultural and natural heritage. The current list of World Heritage Sites includes 1,092 properties as of 2019.
There are 5 UNESCO world heritage sites in Mongolia. Of these 3 are cultural and 2 are natural. It might sound small number, however, Mongolia has summitted 12 properties on UNESCO Tentaive list. As you know, UNESCO World Heritage Sites are the most important cultural and natural sites that declared to the world. Exploring them would benefit both the country and tourists. Let me introduce UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mongolia. I hope it will be useful for you when you plan to travel to Mongolia.
Table of Content
1. Uvs Nuur Basin (2003)
2. Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape (2004)
3. Petroglyphic Complexes of the Mongolian Altai (2017)
4. Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and its surrounding
sacred landscape (2015)
5. Landscapes of Dauria (2017)
Uvs Nuur Basin (2003)
10688.53 square kilometers Uvs Nuur Basin lies in the western part of Mongolia, about 1200 kilometers west of Ulaanbaatar. The site is the northmost of the enclosed basins of Central Asia. The most interesting fact of Uvs Nuur Basin is that it is not only the first World Heritage Site in Mongolia recognized by Unesco, and also a transnational World Heritage property in the heart of Asia. It means Uvs Nuur Basin is shared by Mongolia and the Republic of Tuva in the Russian Federation.
The site is home to numerous types of birds, snow leopard, mountain sheep (argali) and the Asiatic Ibex etc. That is why it is one of the best destinations in Mongolia for photography enthusiasts.
The site was recognized by UNESCO in the World Heritage List in 2003 as a World Natural Heritage Site for being the steppe ecosystem which supports millions of living organisms.
Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape (2004)
1219.67 square kilometers Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape lies in the central part of Mongolia, about 360 kilometers southwest of Ulaanbaatar. The site includes Kharkhorin, the ancient capital of Mongol Empire, which existed from the 13th to 14th centuries. It is home of archeological discoveries dating back to the 6th century of Turkic Khaganate. Turkic Khaganate is the ancestor of modern Turkey.
Now Orkhon Valley is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mongolia. It is a wonderful place to go horseback riding. The site was recognized by UNESCO in the World Heritage List in 2004 as a World Cultural Heritage Site for being a continuing cultural landscape that reflecting the long-standing traditions of Central Asian nomadic pastoralism.
Petroglyphic Complexes of the Mongolian Altai (2011)
The Petroglyphic Complexes of the Mongolian Altai lies in the western part of Mongolia, about 1800 kilometers west of Ulaanbaatar. The Petroglyphic Complexes of the Mongolian Altai include three rock art sites in Bayan-Ulgii province: Tsagaan Salaa-Baga Oigor of Ulaankhus soum, and Upper Tsagaan Gol (Shiveet Khairkhan) and Aral Tolgoi, both of Tsengel soum. All three are located in high mountain valleys carved out by Pleistocene glaciers. Various rock carvings and funerary monuments dating back to 12000 years ago, has been found in these sites.
These petroglyphic complexes are an invaluable part of history of Mongolia as proof of the development of culture in Mongolia.Rock carvings show lifestyles of different periods as hunting and herding etc. Generally, the rock carvings and monuments are relatively unimpacted by human or animal activities because of their relative inaccessibility due to both terrain and weather. The site was recognized by UNESCO in the World Heritage List in 2011 as a World Cultural Heritage Site for representing a long period of history of the development of humanity.
Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and its surrounding sacred landscape (2015)
4437.392 square kilometers Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and its surrounding sacred landscape lies in the north-east part of Mongolia, about 170 kilometers north-east of Ulaanbaatar. The site is considered to be the place of Chingis Khan’s birth and burial. He was born in 1162 and aged 65 years old after the defeat of Tangut Empire. Chinggis Khaan, himself worshipped Burkhan Khaldun Mountain with help of shamans because it protected him and his people from enemies multiple times.
In addition, this mountain is considered to be a huge part of unification of Mongol Empire. This reason probably connects to the findings of about 800 burial sites in the mountain and its surrounding landscape. The site was recognized by UNESCO in the World Heritage List in 2015 as a World Cultural Heritage Site for being connected to the centre of events that profoundly changed Asia and Europe between the 12th and 14th centuries.
Landscapes of Dauria (2017)
9126.24 square kilometers Landscapes of Dauria lies in the eastern part of Mongolia, about 900 kilometers. The site is recognized as an outstanding example of the steppe ecosystem. Landscapes of Dauria is shared by Mongolia and Russian Federation. The different types of steppe ecosystems represented, such as grassland and forest, as well as lakes and wetlands serve as habitats for rare species of fauna, such as the White-naped crane, Great Bustard, Relict Gull and Swan goose, as well as millions of vulnerable, endangered or threatened migratory birds.
The site was recognized by UNESCO in the World Heritage List in 2017 as a World Natural Heritage Site for being eco-region for millions of living organisms.
Properties submitted on the UNESCO Tentative List
- Desert Landscapes of the Mongolian Great Gobi (2014)
- Cretaceous Dinosaur Fossil Sites in the Mongolian Gobi (2014)
- Eastern Mongolian Steppes (2014)
- Amarbayasgalant Monastery and its Surrounding Sacred Cultural Landscape (2014)
- Baldan Bereeven Monastery and its Sacred Surroundings (2014)
- Sacred Binder Mountain and its Associated Cultural Heritage Sites (2014)
- Funeral Sites of the Xiongnu Elite (2014)
- Archaeological Site at Khuduu Aral and Surrounding Cultural Landscape (2014)
- Deer Stone Monuments, the Heart of Bronze Age Culture (2014)
- Petroglyphic Complexes in the Mongolian Gobi (2014)
- Highlands of Mongol Altai (2014)
- Sacred Mountains of Mongolia (2015)