Karakorum: The Capital city of Mongolian Empire

October 14, 2022

By Haagii


Foundation of Empires 

This city has way too rich story to tell. And it’s impossible to write them all here. So I will write about the major facts about the city. It is believed that the foundation of the city Karakorum was first laid in the 13th century by Genghis Khan. But in 1235, Ogedei Khan made it the capital of the Mongol Empire officially.

Then he expanded the city and built the protection wall surrounding the whole city. He also built a large palace called Tumen Amgalant that has a large hall with 64 pillars on a specially prepared stone base. Since then, Karakorum has been the center of trade, communication, culture and economy that connects east and west.

And during the reign of the Munkh Khan there was a silver tree that dripped 4 kinds of drinks at the entrance of the palace that made by the French craftsman Wilhelm De Bouche. It sounds like a fairy tale isn’t it? But it continues until the Khubilai khan’s era. After he got the throne he moved the capital city to Daidu which is a Beijing city now. Even though the Karakorum city abandoned and destroyed by Ming dynasty in 1380, some part of the city is still remaining today.

Best Places to Visit in Mongolia karakorum

Archaeological Expeditions in Karakorum

Russian scientist N.M.Yadrintsev started Karakorum’s archeological research with his team in 1889, and historians and archaeologists believed that this was a starter of discovering Karakorum. Also Mongol-German archaeological excavation has explored the center location of the city.

Thanks to that research, they found so many priceless items which will show and prove the prediction of Karakorum’s historical life style. Such as stone streets, vase, coins, metal workshop tools etc. You can see those items from the museum now. And they found one of the oldest Buddhist Temple that located in Karakorum.

RELATED: 17 Best Places to Visit in Mongolia

Attractions in Karakorum 

Finally, the fun part we have been waiting for! A list of “THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN KARAKORUM”. Well, there are plenty of famous places to visit in Karakorum, it can be hard to know where to start. But don’t worry, I am here to share my top 3 places!

The first place you should visit is the Karakorum museum. It’s a very interesting place to visit if you are interested in the history and culture of Karakorum. The museum is full of artefacts and information about the city and its people. If you are looking for a historical experience, this is definitely the place for you!

Another great place to visit is the Erdene Zuu Monastery. This monastery is home to some of the most beautiful Buddhist architecture in the world. If you are a fan of Buddhism or just want to see some amazing ancient architecture, just visit Karakorum! And finally, no trip to Karakorum would be complete without a four turtle statues. You’ll notice four large turtles on the four sides of the city.

These turtles are actually mascots of the city, and are worshipped by Mongolians as symbols of its long history of peaceful existence. The citizens believe that these turtles protected the city from floods and attacks by these turtles. And one of citizens told me to rub the turtle’s head to be lucky that year. So you should give it a try too!

Life in Karakorum

Karakorum is a small but charming town located in the Ovorkhangai province of Mongolia. As you already know, this town is best known by the site of ancient city Karakorum which was the capital city of Mongol empire. Today, it is a popular tourist destination for those who interested in Mongolia’s rich culture and history.

So visitors can explore the ruins of this once-great city, as well as the nearby Erdene Zuu Monastery. Because of that, now the majority of Karakorum’s residents make their living through tourism. There is even an airport that has regular flights to Ulaanbaatar, making it easy for visitors to reach. When I visited there the people of Karakorum were super friendly and welcoming, and the city had a very positive atmosphere!

Erdene zuu monastery

Erdene Zuu Monastery is one of the oldest Buddhist monastery in Mongolia that first founded in 1586 by the Sain Khan Avtai.  It’s located next to the ruins of the ancient city of Karakorum. And this place is also the part of Orkhon Valley Cultural Monument which is registered in World Heritage Site.

It has 400 x 400 meter huge gates on four sides with 108 small stupas. Not gonna lie, when I first saw this place I felt so relaxed. But this is just the outside of the monastery. The artwork inside the monastery is also beautiful and includes paintings, carvings, and statues. And I almost forgot to mention the Erdene Zuu museum that remains so many unique art and culture heritages.

Erdene Zuu is a place of great history and culture, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in Mongolia!

RELATED: Erdene Zuu Monastery: The Most Extraordinary Place in Mongolia That Few Know About

Important essentials of Karakorum travel

At last if you’re planning a trip to the Karakorum, there are a few must-take items during your travel. And I am sharing my list with you here!

Camera is a must because the place has a lot of historical sites which are very Instagrammable

– A good map. The Karakorum city is a quite large place so it’s essential to have a map to help you.

– Suncream! Don’t ask the reason just bring your sunscreen to save your skin.

– Snacks and drinks. The city is pretty isolated, so you’ll need to be prepared just in case.

– Warm clothing. The Mongolian weather could be kind a little cold even in summer time.

– A first aid kit. This is always a good idea even not in Karakorum trip, so always bring your first aid kit with you.

– Cash. There are so many souvenir shops near by the city. So don’t miss your chance to buy a cool item just because of you haven’t prepared cash!

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