The Mongols never occupied Europe but sparked a renaissance thanks to the art, fashion, food and technology they introduced to residents of the continent. Historians say the Europeans enjoyed all the benefits of an encounter with the Mongols without having to pay the price of being conquered by them. In imparting knowledge ranging from technical to culinary, the Mongols helped usher in a new standard of living in Europe.
Prior to the arrival of the Mongols, Europeans relied on human and animal labor to power milling, mining and other work. However, the Mongols taught them to harness the power of water and wind, which lead to more productivity and higher quality goods including metalwork.
Similarly, the Mongols' introduction of hoists and cranes meant carpentry and other building became faster work.
The Mongols brought with them a number of new vegetables and other crops, including turnips, carrots, parsnips and cress, that required less work to produce than what Europeans were accustomed to.
Thanks to the Mongols, Europeans were also introduced to cannons and firepower in general.
Prior to the arrival of the Mongols, Europeans had not seen paper. After gaining an understanding of how to make their own, they began disseminating information faster and to larger groups of people.