On our first day in Mongolia we threw ourselves straight into the countries national festival ‘Naadam’. When we planned the trip this was a key event we really didn’t want to miss as everyone recommends that this is the best time to visit. With this in mind we planned our leaving date so that we would arrive in Mongolia just in time. I am so pleased we made this decision as the festival encompasses the heart of Mongolia culture and is full of national pride.
Naadam Festival takes place all over Mongolia in July however the main national events happen in Ulaanbaatar, the capital, between 11th and 13th July. The festival showcases the three national sports; wrestling, archery and horse racing. We spent two days in the capital seeing both archery and wrestling and also the lesser known sport of Anklebone shooting. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to see any horse racing which is situated on the outskirts of the city.
Most of the events are free however you do have to purchase tickets for the final rounds of the wrestling and also the opening and closing ceremony. We decided to pay for this and felt the opening ceremony itself was worth the money. It was almost two hours long and reflected the grandeur of an Olympic opening ceremony. Through dance, songs and acting the show, held in the Naadam stadium, depicted Mongolian myths and key events in the countries history. It was a Mongolian feast for the eyes involving doves, fireworks, flames and so much more.
Below are some of our favourite photos showing us enjoying Mongolia’s National Festival Naadam.
The Opening Ceremony