1. Mongolian superstition says that if you do not shake the hand of a person whose foot you accidentally stepped on, you and that person will become enemies – so do not be surprised if a person who just tromped on your foot suddenly shakes your hand.
2. Mongolians believe that if you see a shooting star, that means somebody is dying, so instead of making a wish, they whisper a prayer.
3. Mongolian horses are trained to be approached and dismounted only on the left side. Do not try to approach or dismount a horse on its right side.
4. Whistling indoors is taboo in Mongolia. They believe this practice calls evil spirits into the building or home.
5. While the name Genghis Khan generally forms images of a ravaging warlord in Western minds, the Mongolians know the same man as a king who created peace and order in their kingdom.
6. Although Genghis Khan’s birthplace is known, his burial site is kept secret. Legend says that to protect this secret, 800 soldiers massacred the 2,000 people who attended Genghis Khan’s funeral. Then to completely seal the secret, those soldiers killed themselves.
7. Long before China invaded and gained control of Mongolia in the 20th century, Mongolia had invaded and gained control of China. In the 13th century, the giant nation fell into the hands of Genghis Khan’s grandson, Kublai Khan, the first emperor of China’s Yuan Dynasty.
8. Today, the two-humped Bactrian camel can be found in the wild in only two places in the world: Mongolia and Xinjiang, China.
9. With Mongolia’s large land area and small population, there are more than 500,000 square kilometers of land area available for every person that lives in the country.
10. The required costume for the country’s favorite sport, wrestling, is an open-fronted jacket. It is said this requirement was born when it was discovered that one of their wrestling champions was, in fact, a woman.