In the morning we will drive to Karakorum (also called Kharkhorin), site of the 13th century capital of the Mongolian Empire created by Genghis Khan. Today, very little is left from this legendary city. In the 16th century, Mongolia’s biggest Monastery was built from the ruins of Kharkhorin. Now Erdene Zuu Monastery is all that remains of what once was a huge monastery of 100 temples and about 1.000 lamas residing there. We will explore the grounds of Erdene Zuu Monastery. We will be guided around the 3 remaining temples: Dalai Lama, Zuu of Buddha and Lavrin Temple. We will also see the Turtle Rock and the Phallic Rock.
Another place we will visit will be Karakorum Archaeological Museum. It is a small museum but housed in a modern well-run building with good lighting and display cases with clear English labels. The exhibits include dozens of artefacts dating from the 13th and 14th centuries which were recovered from the immediate area, plus others that were found from archaeological sites in other parts of the provinces, including prehistoric stone tools. You’ll see pottery, bronzes, coins, religious statues and stone inscriptions. There’s also a half-excavated kiln sunk into the museum floor. Perhaps most interesting is the scale model of ancient Kharkhorin, which aims to represent the city as it may have looked in the 1250s, and is based on descriptions written by the French missionary William of Rubruck. Another chamber exhibits a Turkic noble tomb with wall paintings and artifacts, including gold items and jeweler. There is a short video of actual burial site. We will also see the Turtle Rock and the Phallic Rock, visit little market behind walls exposing local arts by locals.
(Ger Camp B, L, D)