Kharkhorin

Kharkhorin was the capital of Great Mongolian Empire in the mid-13th century. It is located on the right bank of Orkhon river, 400 km south-west of Ulaanbaatar which is the current capital of Mongolia. Chinggis Khaan established a supply base here and his son Ugedei ordered the construction of proper capital, a decree that attracted traders, dignitaries and skilled workers from across Asia and even Europe.

Whatever was left of Karakorum was used to help build, in the 16th century, the enormous monastery, Erdenezuu Khiid, which itself was badly damaged during the Stalinist purges. Besides paintings, ornaments and embroideries dating from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries, it houses a whole library of rare manuscripts and wood-block printed editions. Here, too, are preserved the works of the seventeenth-century painter and sculptor Zanabazar, great illustrator of the Buddhist canon and one of the first Mongol artists to have attained universal stature. In his day there was an extraordinary flowering of the arts and culture in Mongolia. When its heyday, there were about 62 temples and 1500 monks. But during the Stalinist purge in 1930s the monastery was destroyed. In 1965 it restored and became a museum.

 

  • Kharkhorum
 

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