Development of Classic Mongolian Architecture

It is believed that the history of architecture dates back to the creation of mankind and the first use of ivory. Since then, the concept, knowledge, intelligence, and approach to “architecture” have emerged around the world as an expression of science, culture, and art in relation to human development, social, and economic change. But to talk about the development of Mongolian architecture, it is necessary to emphasize the ger, which is a common home of the peoples who settled in Mongolia. The architectural development of Mongolian palaces and temples has been greatly influenced by traditional Mongolian dwellings.

      According to researchers, the history of Mongolian architecture dates back to the 3rd century AD. There are many examples of Mongolian architecture that are known and studied today, such as Luut, the capital of the ancient Xiongnu dynasty, Kharkhorum, the Yellow Zone, and Bars. In 1926, a new generation of Construction and Architecture Organization was established Mongolia, which has a vast territory and is engaged in animal husbandry.

     Archaeologists have estimated that there were about 300 ancient cities, more than 4,000 temples, and 770 monasteries in Mongolia. Mongolian paintings, carvings, and rams, such as the temple’s architectural style, unique design, structure, spatial planning, and ornaments, blended with Buddhist rituals to create a unique Mongolian style. For example, the architectural spatial design of Amarbayasgalant Monastery, Dambadarjaalin Monastery, and Erdene Zuu Monastery, the main volume of its buildings, and its monolithic structures fully reflect the unique features of Buddhist rituals, while the architectural appearance and overall design contain elements of Mongolian national architecture.

     During its development, Mongolian architecture has been influenced by Buddhist countries such as Tibet, China, and India, but it has developed an architecture with its own unique national solutions. The development of Mongolian national architecture has gone through the following main stages. These include:

  • The architecture of India, China, and Tibet existed in Mongolia on an organic basis;
  •  The design of Mongolian temples and monasteries has been developed by combining various Chinese, Tibetan, and Indian-style roofs, doors, gates, colorful enamel pottery, religious rituals, and carvings with Mongolian national ornaments and fine arts.
  • The unique design of the walls, rafters, ceilings and roofs of the temples, temples and monasteries of Mongolia was created using wood.

       Another important period in the development of Mongolian architecture was the years 1900-1921, when the Jebtsundamba ruled the country, free from Manchu rule and combining religion and state. As a result of the measures taken by the Bogd government at that time, construction and urban development resumed, depending on geographical factors, technical advances in construction, the nature of local construction materials, the quality of the workforce, and climatic conditions. Thus, the main types of buildings of the feudal period were expanded into frame-type settlements, castles, temples, temples, palaces. For example:

– The socio-political and religious center of Mongolia, the Capital City, was established.

– Military-social-trade center Khovd, Uliastai and Khiagt fortified trade cities were established.

– Religious, socio-political and cultural centers such as Erdene Zuu and Amarbayasgalant were established.

– Foreign traders, centralized Tariat Monastery and Bereeven Nomon Khan Monastery were established under the leadership of local administrations of aimags and counties.


Mongolian-Chinese, Chinese-Tibetan, and Mongolian-Tibetan mixed buildings are being built to introduce Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist architectural traditions into Mongolian architecture. Mixed-type buildings have created a unique new style in Mongolian architecture. The Mongolian-Chinese building was built in Chinese style at the top and Mongolian style at the bottom. On top of the square building that originated from the Mongol ger, enameled buildings with Chinese porches called porches were built locally. There are many Mongolian-Chinese temples and monasteries, including the Dechin Galav Temple, or the three-stupa temple of the present-day Gandan Monastery. One of the great representatives of Mongolian-Tibetan architecture is the majestic Maitreya Temple, built in 1834 at the Khuree. 

       One of the major measures taken by the Bogd government was the Megjid Janraisag Temple, built in 1911-1913 as a symbol of the country’s independence based on the design of the Mongolian ger. The temple is a Sino-Tibetan structure with a light wooden roof with a Chinese stupa on top of a majestic white building in Tibet. The architecture, artistic image and design of the church have been preserved in the territory and spatial system of Ulaanbaatar, which has been rebuilt for a century, and still play an active role in national architecture.


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