Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The ancient Mongolian capital - Kharkhorin

Temple at Erdene Zuu
If you remember, we went from the sand dunes at Mongol Els to the ancient Mongolian capital, Kharkhorin where we spent the night at a ger camp.

The city was founded in 1220 by Chinggis Khan. Kharkhorin was a cosmopolitan city that became the first trade center linking Asia and Europe. Marco Polo visited Kharkhorin and described its wonders in his account of his historic journey to Asia.

Kharkhorin was the capital of Mongolia for 140 years and the capital of the Mongol Empire for 32 years. Today the city has 7,000 residents and is off the beaten path - except for tourists.

Recently the Mongolian government has been discussing moving the capital back to Kharkhorin -  a highly unlikely event. It does show the sentiment Mongolians feel toward their country and its past glories.
Visitors at Erdene Zuu
Erdene Zuu was the first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. It was built over the ruins of Kharkhorin in 1586. It occupies an area of 400 square meters and is surrounded by 108 stupas.
Museum at Kharkhorin
We visited a modern museum and saw artifacts of the ancient city discovered by archeologists.
Erdene Zuu - first impressions
Grand Stupa at Erdene Zuu
A closer view
Ger Temple at Erdene Zuu

Worshipers at prayer wheel

Buddha at temple in Erdene Zuu

Some of the 108 stupas
We enjoyed a dramatic sky the day we visited
Would you believe? - the Angel Moroni at Kharkhorin


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