The history of Hovd dates back about 240 years. At the north end of town there is a ruined fort where the Manchu dynasty viceroy lived with his troops. Mongolian revolutionaries chased them out in 1912. While the Manchus were ruling, they planted trees along the main streets that can still be seen.
Since 1912, Hovd has developed, acquiring a big hospital, a university for the youth of Western Mongolia, a quality airport, kindergartens, a cinema, and a theater.
Hovd is unique in its diverse ethnic makeup. It consists of 17 soums (similar to a county with each county containing one larger town that also bears the soum’s name), some of which have their own ethnic groups including Kazakhs and seven different Mongolian ethnic groups. Many of the small ethnic groups represented in the city are from the surrounding Hovd aimag, and have their own unique dialects, clothes, dances, songs, musical instruments, and ceremonies. Uriankhais (an ethnic group concentrated in Munkhkhairkhan and Duut soums in the Altai Mountains) are of special note; their archery is unique and involves shooting rubber-tipped arrows at leather balls.