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Petroglyphs of the Mongolian Altai

Petroglyphs of the Mongolian Altai

The Petroglyphs of the Mongolian Altai are one of the largest, oldest and least damaged concentrations of rock art in North Asia.

The earliest images date from the Late Pleistocene (11,000 years BP). They extend into the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Turkic period (9th century). The images evoke historical cultural landscapes, and lead to a better understanding of pre-historic communities in this area of Asia.

The petroglyphs are spread out over a large area in valleys at the remote western edge of the Altai mountains. They are enclosed within 3 areas, some 35-40km apart:

- Aral Tolgoi

- Upper Tsagaan Gol (lived in by Tuva families, sacred mountain)

- Tsagaan Salaa-Baga Oigor (most extensive)

Map of Petroglyphs of the Mongolian Altai


  • Cultural

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Site Info

Full name: Petroglyphs of the Mongolian Altai

Unesco ID: 1382

Inscribed: 2011

Type: Cultural

Criteria: 3  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2011 - Revision Includes former TWHS Tsagaan salaa rock painting (1996) and The Upper Tsagaan Gol Complex (2009)
  • 2011 - Inscribed 


The site has 3 locations.

  • Petroglyphs of the Mongolian Altai: Aral Tolgoi
  • Petroglyphs of the Mongolian Altai: Tsagaan Salaa-Baga Oigor
  • Petroglyphs of the Mongolian Altai: Upper Tsagaan Gol


The site has 11 connections.



  • Bronze Age: Large compositions appear within this period (AB ev)
  • Iron Age: "This period, which coincides with the Scythian Period, reflects the development of a completely horsedependent, herding culture that dominated the steppes of Eurasia. The images are scenes of hunting and riding,." (AB ev)

Human Activity

  • Writing systems: Turkic Period (7th-9th c. CE): "To this period, also, belong a number of runic inscriptions." (AB ev)
  • Pastoralism: the high valleys used for summer pastures (AB ev)

Religion and Belief

  • Sacred Mountains: Shiviit Khairkhan - "The mountain is still considered sacred by local people." (AB ev)



World Heritage Process


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