13th Century National Park
13th century national park is located in Erdene soum, Tuv province, Yol Mountain 96 km from Ulaanbaatar. The goal of 13th century National Park is to build and establish real-time micro kingdom to make the lively feeling for the guests during their stay by genuinely providing true environment of the way of living and working of 13th century.
Visitors can enjoy annual celebrations and customs such as making a felt which covers over gers, cutting wool, sacred ceremony to praise flag, heaven by sacrificing, wedding, mare milking, sealing folks and organizing three games of men. Here the guests can dine with Khans and Queens visit the residents of lords and learn to write in Mongolian scripts and play in horse-headed fiddle /Morin khuur/.
Abtai Sain Khan
He was a son of Onokhui Uizen who was 3rd son of Prince Gersenz Jalair, a direct descendant of Genghis Khan. His grandson Zanabazar was selected as the first Bogd King of Mongolia during XVI century. In 1580 Abtai Sain khan met with Dalai Lama and promised to establish monastery in his country and Dalai Lama advised him to restore old temple at Takhai ruin which later became Middle Zuu temple of an ancient Erdene Zuu monastery.
Aryapala Meditation center
Aryapala Meditation center was built by Mongolian Believers Association. They wanted to create a place where people are able learn about Buddhism and practice meditation. It is located at 60 km from Ulaanbaatar city in Terelj National park.
Construction of the Aryapala Temple and other buildings began in 1998 and finished in 2004. Aryapala Initiation and Meditation Center is now visited by Buddhists worldwide. Three water sources, one of them a powerful medicinal spring, are nearby. And also the location is acceptable for meditating.
One can enjoy the scenery and feel peaceful while practicing some excursion and walking in this beautiful valley.
Bogd Khan Mountain
Bogd Khan Mountain is one of the oldest natural reserves in the world. In 1996, UNESCO designated the mountain as the World Biosphere Reserve. In 12th and 13th centuries the king of Khereid tribe banned logging and hunting on the mountain, and declared it as a holy site. In 1778, an official document from Manchu government noted that the mountain is “The most picturesque and unique” and decreed to organize ceremonies in honor of the mountain twice a year, with offerings of incense and silk. The mountain is now Strictly Protected area whose boundaries encompass some 42.000 hectare with additional 26000 hectares in buffer and transition zones. Its highest peak is Tsetsee Gun which is 2268 m above the sea level. Top of the mountain is covered mostly with Siberian Larch (Larix sibirica). Over the half mountain is forested by larch, spruce, stone pine, cedar and birch. The biology inventory lists more than 500 vascular plant species, 47 mammals, 4 reptiles, 2 amphibians, and over thousand insects. Red Deer, Musk Deer, Siberian Deer, Siberian Ibex and Wild Boar also Common Buzzard, Woodpecker and Stork are recorded here.
People like to come here for hiking on the mountain in magnificent nature and researching the ruins of old temples which was one of the key places for some time during XVII-XIX centuries.
Chin Tolgoin Balgas
It is located at 16 km in the east of Dashinchilen village. According to the research, it is proved to be ruin of city Chen Chou of Kidan State /9-10th century/. Now there are two turtle stones which were base of memorial statue. Here remains of stove of 100 families.
Chuluut River (stony river)
The Chuluut (stony river) is a river flowing down through the valleys of the Khangai Mountains in central Mongolia, and a tributary of Ideriin gol. It is 415 km long, the width at the mouth into Ider River is 80 m, and the maximum depth is 3 m. It is usually frozen from November to April. Stony River locates at 30 km from Tariat soum of Arkhangai province.
It starts off in a narrow, steep but not high basalt canyon that is embedded in a landscape of mountainous steppe. It is a wonderful experience traveling between those sheer walls, which occasionally open up to a view of wooded slopes and rich grazing grounds. It is also renowned for its fisheries. Since most of it can´t be accessed unless you are in a canoe there are some good opportunities to enrich the menu with fresh Lennox trout.
In addition of waterfall called “Choidog” there are some natural springs and valuable and interesting rock paintings belonged to Bronze Age.
This sand is called “Elsen Tasarkhai” which means Peace of Sand. It is the nearest sand dune from Ulaanbaatar. Elsen Tasarkhai is part of sand dune stretching over 80 km long continuously in the lowland of legendary Khugnu Khaan and Bat Khaan mountains. Sand dunes represent landscape, climate & ecology of Gobi Desert, in this region.
The paved main road divides this sand into two parts; front side is called Mongol Els and the back side is called Khugnu Tarniin Els. You can visit nomadic family here and ride horse and camel enjoying your time on the sand and take pleasure like you are travelling in Gobi desert of Mongolia.
Erdene Zuu monastery
It is in Uvurkhangai Province, near the town of Kharkhorin, the ancient city of Karakorum was built in 1586, is the first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia by a well-known Mongolian king called Abtai Sain Khaan, and is surrounded by a wall featuring 108 stupas, 108 being a sacred number in Buddhism, and the number of beads in a Buddhist rosary. Various construction materials were taken from the ruins of Karakorum to build this monastery. Not a single nail was used in the construction of the ornate temples, only a few of which remain standing after the communist purges. In previous times the grounds held over 60 temples with 10,000 monks using them for their daily worship. During the peak times of Buddhism in late 18th century the complex of ornate gardens and 62 temples were home to over 1000 lamas. Today ErdeneZuu monastery complex is remained as an active Buddhist monastery as well as a museum that is open to tourists. Also, you will see turtle rocks, great imperial maps and phallic rock there.
The monastery was damaged by warfare in the 1680s, but was rebuilt in the 18th century and by 1872 had a full 62 temples inside.
In 1939 during the religious purge the temples in the complex were destroyed by communist people with the other many temples in Mongolia. Three small temples and the external wall with the stupas remained; the temples became museums in 1947.
After the fall of Communism in Mongolia in 1990, the monastery was turned over to the lamas and Erdene Zuu again became a place of worship.
On a hill outside the monastery sits a stone phallus. The phallus is said to retain the sexual impulses of the monks and ensure their good behavior.
Galuut Khavtsal (Goose Gorge)
This is located in Galuut sum in Bayankhongor province. 38 kilometers north-west of the sum centre is a stele with deer and snake on it. In the mountains of this sum are several sites of rock carvings.
Duut Nuur (Singing Lake) it is said of the deafening fracas which comes up from them when the ice melts of particular type, back water cow which is thought to live in the lake. From time to time it emerges from water to flow a domestic cow and mate with it, thus increasing and enriching the herbs.
Genghis Khan Statue Complex
There is a place which is called as “Tsonjinboldog” in Erdene town, Tuv province. Here is a huge complex with Genghis Khan on the horse with height of 40 meters. The complex covers 212 hectare area.
As soon as you get into the complex there are giant traditional Mongolian boot with a whip decorated by gold. The biggest whip in the world placed on two Garuda birds is 4 meters long and gilded by 30 grams of gold. Garuda is the symbol of power and unity.
The boot is also the largest in the world which is made of 225 pieces of cow leather, 4500 meters of hemp, 120 m2 felt, 72 m2 sponge, 13 m3 wood, 300 liters of glue and 180 m2canvas.
There are two mini museums showing the findings belonged to the Ancient people during the Bronze Age and to Great Mongol Empire during XIII centuries. Also in the complex there are Fine Art Gallery, restaurant, meeting room, lounge, snooker room, souvenir shop and in the room next to the museum you can watch short movie about the process of constructioning of the complex. After that one can go up to the horse’s hair through the elevator and stairs inside the monument. On the top of the hair you can see memorial places related to Genghis Khan’s history including Burkhan Khaldun Mountain, Deluun boldog hill and Khuduu Aral. The complex fundament is circle on 36 poles which express the number of kings belonged to Golden Generation of Genghis Khan.
Erdenebileg D. worked as the general architect of the complex and it opened officially in 26th of September, 2008. As soon as the complex finished completely there would be 200 ger accommodations, golf course, open theatre, artificial lake, sport square and 10 thousand trees.
The monument of Genghis Khan on the horse is made of 250 tons of stainless steel which is the biggest in the world among the monuments with horses and the cover will be replaced once in every 13 years.
There is a legend that Genghis Khan has found a whip from this place when he was going with his brothers in 1177. For Mongolians if someone finds a whip it means good luck. So he appreciated this moment and said that it could be the sign of the great deal. Later historians noted that “it was a good sign and good whip for him to conquer over half of the world”.
Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Gorkhi–Terelj National Park is one of the national parks in Mongolia cradled by gentle mountains and studded with unusual rock formations. It is the nearest and most visited tourist attraction place located at 70 km from Ulaanbaatar city, crosses Tuul River and territory begins with Terelj settlement located in the valley of Terelj River. This diverse wild landscape comprising 293.200 hectares of mountains, river valleys, wetlands, forest, rocky summits and flower spangled meadows. The mountains of Gorkhi-Terelj are the southern sentinels of the Khentii range, a tangle of high, rugged country extending 160 km north to Siberian border. It is truly one of the outstanding natural treasures of Mongolia. Arctic tundra on the high mountains, coniferous taiga on north-facing slopes, Euro-Siberian forest steppe and Manchurian-Daurian steppe in the valleys combine to create Khentii’s characteristic steppe and meadow ecosystem.
Here attractions include Khagiin Khar Lake, 20m deep glacial Lake 80 km upstream from the tourist camps, and Yestii Hot Water Springs. The park also has a Buddhist monastery, meditation center that is open to visitors.
The biology inventory includes 50 species mammals such as brown bears, wolves, lynx, wolverine, sable, red deer, moose, Siberian roe deer and musk deer and 250 bird species including steppe eagles, golden eagles, cinereous vultures, demoiselle cranes, ever-present black kites, western marsh harriers, Eurasian hobby, Amur falcons and endangered saker falcon. There are more than 1200 vascular plants. Several habitat zones come together here. Terelj was first developed for tourism in 1964 and 30 years later it became part of the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park.
Gun – Galuut Natural Reserve
Gun-Galuut Natural Reserve is in Bayandelger soum of Tuv province. Amazingly, Gun-Galuut is the state combined from diversity of ecosystem although it owns comparatively small area. The harmonized complex of high mountains, steppes, rivers, lakes and wetlands as well are kept enough as its original condition. Whoever visiting enjoys to see Gun-Galuut vast steppe seems to meet the sky, the imposing mountains Baits and Berkh, a home land of rare creatures, Ikh-Gun and Ayaga lakes, paradises of birds, Kherlen, the longest river of Mongolia and Tsengiin
Bird wetland in where water and wetland birds lay their eggs.
Gun-Galuut Natural Reserve is a local protected area for conservation of global threatened species. The Natural Reserve (NR) is founded by the Citizens' Representative Hural (Local Parliament) of Bayandelger, Tuv Province in 2003.
Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve comprises of 3 zones: tourism, limited, and core zones, which are the ecosystem of steppe, rocky mountain, small lakes, river, streams and wetland, and it is about 20.000 hectare.
The fauna and flora of the NR have not been researched properly but currently 63 mammal species, 81 bird species, 3 amphibian species and 38 fish species are recorded. Most common species are Grey Wolf, Marmot, Souslik, Pika, Vole, Fox, Corsac, Jerboa and Frog. There are many nationally and globally threatened species in the NR. For instance, Argali Wild Mountain Sheep, Siberian White Crane, White-Naped Crane, Hooded Crane, Red Falcon, Black Vulture and Swan Goose are globally threatened and listed in the IUCN Red List. Also there are nationally threatened species such as Whooper Swan, Black Stork, Great White Egret, Bar-Headed Goose, Bearded Vulture and Eurasian Penduline.
Moreover, we have been constantly investing in the conservation of the nature reserve flora and fauna, which is unique and rare.
Gunjiin Sum: The Princess Temple
This Tomb of a Manchuria princess, which dates to 1740, is a place for people trekking inside the Terelj National park. Next to the tomb there is a stone tortoise with an inscription by the Manchu Emperor Qianlong addressed to Tusheet Khaan Dovdon Dorj.
A sanctuary surrounded by wall of white stones, was built near the tomb according to Manchu custom. At one time the interior included a temple hall and the funerary vault, housing a sandal wood coffin containing the remains of the princess. The wall was taken down in 1941 and its bricks used to build a primary school. The treasures disappeared under strange circumstances and have never been traced.
Hot spring of Jargalant soum
This hot spring smells and tastes little bit of sulfate, transparent, it flows through various stones, like kidney-stones, very thick placed sandy soil. Nearby beautiful high mountains and amazing forest, which has different trees, like pines, ebony, asp, cedar are around the hot spring. Temperature of the hot spring water is 450-500C hot.
Hustain Nuruu National Park
Located in Tov Province is a national park of Mongolia. It is also known as Hustai National Park. Tuul River runs through the park. Hustai National Park lies in the foothill of the southern Khentii Mountain Range about 100 km south west of Ulaanbaatar.
The HNP covers 50,600 hectare area which is home to 459 species of vascular plants, 85 species of lichens, 90 species of moss and 33 species of mushrooms. 44 species of mammals have been recorded, including Red deer, Mongolian gazelle, Roe deer, Wild boar, Wild sheep, Ibex, Mongolian marmots, Greywolves, Lynx, Pallas cat, Red fox, Corsac fox and Eurasian badger. The 217 species of birds include Golden eagle, Lammergeyer, Great bustard, Whooper swan, Black stork, Daurian partridge and Little owl. There are 16 species of fish, 2 species of amphibians, and 385 species of insects (including 21 species of ants, 55 species of butterflies, 10 species of bush crickets and 29 species of grasshoppers).
Mongolians are tremendously proud of their natural heritage and proclaimed their first protected area more than 200 years ago. The Mongolian Government declared Hustai National Park as a Specially Protected Area in 1993, one year after the initiation of the reintroduction project of the Takhi (Przewalski horse) better known as wild horse which disappeared in Mongolia in the 1960s to the Hustain Nuruu.
Karakorum ancient city of Mongolia
In 1220 Genghis Khan decided to build the capital city first for his Great Mongol Empire in the Valley of Orkhon River, at a busy point on the route of Silk Road. At the moment there were many countries with different customs and religions were under Great Mongol Empire. Therefore, the state of Mongols in 13th century was the most powerful and busy place in the world and it was a key place for international diplomatic relationship, trade and religion.
Karakorum existed for 140 years but was the capital of the Great Empire for only 32 years. It served first of all as a base camp for the leader of the Kereit tribe before being used by Genghis Khan in 1222 as a supply point for Mongol armies.
Cereals were grown there feed the army and agricultural implements and weapons were cast there.
Ogodei Khan developed the city intensively and built beautiful palace called “Tumen Amgalan” and during his reign Karakorum became real urban diplomatic and commercial centre. Also Munkhe Khan first organized religious debate in the palace in 1254.
After collapsing of Yuan dynasty Min state’s invaders sacked the city and massacred its inhabitants in 1388 and ruined it. Though Karakorum was partially reconstructed later, it was nevertheless eventually deserted.
Whatever was left was used to help to build the Erdene Zuu monastery in 16th century, which itself was badly destroyed during the communist purges. The modern and dreary town of Kharkhorin was built on the same spot.
Khachin Lamiin Laviran
This is a ruined monastic complex located in Erdenetsogt sum, 45 km from the town of Bayankhongor, in Tuin River Basin. In winter one can reach it directly by following the river, which saves 17 km, a directive from the Party turned one of the temples into museum of Religion. The name of the monastery means Labrang of the purifying monks. Khachin was the name given to the monks who carried out the daily purifications intended to protect the purity of the Bogd Gegeen.
Khangai Mountain Range
This picturesque mountain range became as the National Park in 1996. It is in the heart of Mongolia, including high mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, meadows and a rich historical background. The mountains include the headwaters of Orkhon, one of the Mongolian largest rivers. The valleys and the Mountain Forest Steppe Zone include many areas important for semi-nomadic herders. The National Park embraces 888.500 hectares straddling Arkhangai (including villages of Bulgan, Ikh Tamir, Chuluut, Tsenkher, and Khotont) and Uvurkhangai province (including villages of Bat-Ulziit, Uyanga, Khujirt and Kharkhorin).
Khar balgas is located 25 km North West of Erdene Zuu Monastery. It is ruin of Ordubalik /former name/, a capital city of Uigur state (745-840). It locates at 15 km from Khotont village in Arkhangai province in the left side of Orkhon River founded in 715 and was destroyed in 840 by Yenisei Kirghiz. After Uigur state defeated Turkic state in 751, Pailo became a king of Uigur state. After Pailo’s death, his son was crowned and Uigur state became the most powerful state during his ruling. He established the capital city called Ordubalik in the Valley of Orkhon River. As well as Ordubalik, there were about 10 cities but now, only ruins of two cities such as Ordubalik and Baibalik. According to archaeological research, the city extends for 25 km that consisted of king’s state palace, ministries, streets of hand craftsman and trade, temples, fortress, barnyard for horses, warehouse for military. This powerful city used to be the main point of Silk Road passing through Central Asia. However, it used be a big city, it could not exist for more than 100 years. In 840, Kyrgyzstan people of Yenisei burned the city.
This once enormous city was excavated in 1980, 1933 and 1949. Only ruins are left. There are traces of town quarters, the remains of temples and of a Buddhist stupa and parts of the ramparts flanked by watchtowers. The plan of the fortress is almost square. The ramparts about 12 meters tall are formed of a thick wall of unbaked brick covered in a layer of earth and grass and surrounded by a wide ditch. Khar Balgas was registered by UNESCO in the World Heritage by grading “The most wonderful valuable object” in 1996.
Khar Bukhiin Balgas
It is located at 12 km in Northwest of Dashinchilen village, Bulgan province. It is ruin of a city dated back to period of Kidan State /9-10th century/. Later in 17th century, Mongolians built Buddhist monastery using the stones inside the fortress, that has still being preserved now. The fortress has 500:500 m walls in each side. Architecture design of fortress is outstanding, which was laid by combination of basalt of volcano and whetstone. During the archaeological expedition in 1970, a professor Perlee has found Mongolian laws associated to 15-16th century, written on the bark which is Mongolian valuable cultural writing. This ruin has been protected since 1998 as a historical heritage.
Khorgo is located on the northern part of Khangai Mountain Range at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level and about 700 km from Ulanbator, 280 km from Kharkhorin village.
Khorgo is a dead volcano covered with basalt lying to the east of the Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan (White of Terkh), has volcanic origins, in Tariat village (sub-province) of Arkhangai province.
Khorgo crater is horizontally 200 m, 70-80 deep and has 30-36 degrees slope. For its summit which is covered in ovoo (stone shrines) one has a splendid view over the whole region and the lake. The latter a lake about 20 kilometers was formed when volcanic lava dammed the Suman River, cutting a large gorge through the basalt. Khorgo is last volcano which erupted 8000 years ago.
The Volcano is worth climbing if only to walk around the crater it is easy to hire a horse and ride up to the volcano, which also gives you chance to visit of the more interesting lava formations on your way, or cars can be driven almost to the summit. There are interesting bubbles of solidified lava, named “basalt ger” and it is possible to visit yak herders in this area.
Khorgo is rich in beautiful scenery of mountains, cliffs, rapid streams, rivers, lakes, extinct volcanoes, green forests and pastures, where the long-haired yaks and horses pasture. 1600 species of plants 46 species of mammals, 227 species of birds, 2 species of reptiles, and 12 species of fish home to Roe Deer, Siberian Deer, Wolf, Pallas Cat, Red Fox and Siberian Marmot, Golden Eagle, Great Bustard, Saker Falcon, Black Stork, Baikal Teal and Ruddy Shelduck rule the skies. It has been protected since 1965, fully in 1997, to safeguard spectacular mountain scenery and endangered fauna and flora. The grasslands are rich in wild flowers notably Edelweiss /Leontopodium ochrolencum/.
It is a small and fresh lake formed of blocking of the Terkh valley due to the volcanic lava. It covers only 1 km and separates 3 km from Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur.
Khugnu Khaan National Park
This mountain /1962 m high above sea level/ is formed of granites of Paleozoic age which became a National Park. It covers the area of 469.9 square kilometer and situated in the territory of Gurvanbulag, Dashinchilan and Rashaant villages in Bulgan aimag. The area was taken under state protection in 1997.The taiga and steppe plants grow in this area and represent two or three different natural zones. C. Mongolicus Pojark, which is famous as “Khugnu” and “Tarni”, also grow in this area. There are many historical sites such as burial graves, scripts on the rock of Turkic state and ruins of monasteries. Also this place is rich for plenty of natural resources.
The Khushuu Tsaidam Turkic monuments are made up of four memorial complexes, including those erected in honour of Bilge Khan, a famous politician of the Eastern Turkish Empire (d. 734), and Kul Tegin, commander-in-chief of the Turkic armed forces and younger brother of Bilge Khan (d. 731).
The Khushuu Tsaidam memorials are the most important archaeological remains of the Turkic Empire, which extended across Central Asia in 6th -8th centuries AD. The unique information presented in the inscriptions on the steles located here has proven extremely valuable to the study of Central Asian history and culture; in addition, the memorial sites have supplied particular insight into the world view, religious beliefs, architecture, arts, literary development and political relations of the early Central Asian people.
In terms of their external and internal structure, these first two memorials are essentially identical, consisting of three sections: an entrance area, containing a stele with Turkic runes and Chinese characters, mounted on a granite pedestal fashioned in the form of a turtle; a prayer temple; and a section containing an altar-stone. However the memorials differ in relation to the human and animal statues and the arrangement of the buildings they contain, as well as in terms of their state of preservation. The remaining two memorials contain stones engraved with flower and bird figures, but it is unknown to whom these are dedicated. These smaller memorial complexes also include the remains of surrounding walls and moats, engraved square stone fences, human and animal statues, and bal-bal stones, as well as traces of a former temple.
Although the dates of the Bilge Khan and Kul Tegin memorials are clearly recorded, there is nothing stated in historical sources about the other memorials located nearby. However, as a result of archaeological studies and investigations, it is possible to say that all of them were almost built at the same time, considering the similarity of their designs, structure, and customs. Thus, many scholars have concluded that the monuments were established in 730s in honour of Turkic kings and aristocrats, and were destroyed by Uighurs only about ten years after their establishment. The Uighurs broke down nearly everything including the figures of the king and his attendants.
Recent excavations at the Khushuu Tsaidam site have led to the discovery of many interesting objects, including two headed sheep statues from the entrance to the Bilge Khaan memorial; the broken half-torso of a human statue made of coarse white granite, with missing head and right arm, holding a flat object in the fingers of the left hand, situated between the turtle stone and the offering-temple; a golden crown ornamented with the figure of a mythical bird; gold and silver containers; and a silver deer figure. Turkish and Mongolian organizations decided to cooperate on a museum for all of these memorials belonged to Turkic people in 2010.
Manzushir Khiid (Monastery Manjushri)
The ruin of Manzushir monastery located in Tuv province, 43 kilometers south of Ulaanbaatar in the front side of Bogdkhaan Mountain. This monastery situated in stunning larch forest. It was established by saint monk, Luvsanjambaldanzan who is reincarnation of Manzushir monk in 1733 and its peak it was home to 350 monks and 1000 families, the entire complex was reduced to ruin by anti-religious violence in 1937. It used to be a famous religious center that was authorized to grant highest Buddhist rank for the monks. Also architectural design and style of the monastery was so wonderful.
Now there's one wooden temple which has been restored as a museum, and the rest are picturesque ruins. The valley is a location long-held to be particularly sacred, as the beauty of the place seems to allow no other interpretation.
Above the monasteries are three main shrines in the rock. In them are fine rock carvings of various Buddhist deities, some of which are painted.
This sand reminds the Gobi in the regions of semi steppe and forest in the Valley of Tuul River. It covers 10 square km. It is very special sand that is good for some disease of kidney, back, joint and urinary bladder.
It is situated in Khirgist valley in Saikhan, Bulgan province. This memorial has significant importance of Uighur history as well as its culture. Inscription on it was written in runic script. Its height is 3,8 m. At first it was placed on the turtle stone base, but later separated from the base by falling down and broken into two parts.44 rows of inscription each having about 150 letters was written on the stele. Nearly 1750 letters out of 6750 disappeared. Uighur’s second king Moyunchur, a son of first king Peilo, had this stele built /744-750/.
Known as “Naiman Nuur” (literally means Eight Lakes) is 116 km from town of Arvaikheer. Here there are eight small lakes which are formed of extinct volcanoes making depressions high up in Khangai Mountains at about 2500 m above the sea level. The area covers 11.500 hectares around the lake located in Uyanga village. Craters of extinct volcanoes occur near to the Naiman Nuur. Red deer, Argali, Wild Boar, Siberian Ibex, Musk Deer and Duck, Snow cock and other birds have been recorded here.
The Orkhon River takes its origin from Khangai Mountain Range and flows 1124 km joining the Selenge River in the northern Mongolia and so to Lake Baikal in Siberia. The main tributaries of the Orkhon River are the Tamir and Yeroo rivers, which have their source in the Khentii and Khangai mountain ranges. Average width is 10-60 m but it is 120-150 m wide at the end of the river. Average depth is 0.5-1.5 m and 2.5-4 m in the deepest part.
Orkhon Valley Cultural landscape
The Orkhon Valley covering an area of 1,220 square kilometers one of the most important cultural regions in the world and was recognized by UNESCO World Heritage as a cultural landscape in 2004. The extensive area encompasses the pastureland on both banks of the Orkhon River and includes numerous archaeological sites dating back to 6th century. The Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape includes sites such as Karakorum, the 13th century capital of Genghis Khan’s Empire.
The first evidence comes from a stone stele with runic inscriptions, which was erected in the valley by Bileg Khan, 8th-century ruler of the Empire. Some 25 miles to the north of the stele, in the shadow of the sacred forest-mountain was his capital.
Mountains were considered sacred in Tengriism as an axis mundi. Moreover, a force called quit was believed to emanate from this mountain, granting the khagan the divine right to rule the Turkic tribes. Whoever controlled this valley was considered heavenly appointed leader of the Turks and could rally the tribes. Thus control of the Orkhon Valley was of the utmost strategic importance for every Turkic state. Historically every Turkic-Mongolian capital was located here for this exact reason.
The Orkhon Waterfall water flows for remarkable 1120 km to the North and lies in the historically significant Orkhon Valley, UNESCO World Heritage site. The waterfall formed by combination volcanic eruption and earthquakes some 20000 years ago cascades down from a height 27 meters. The Orkhon, longest river in Mongolia, begins at the state worshipped mountain Suvraga Khairkhan in the Khangai mountain range. The drainage basin of the river is 132835 sq.km. The river is 10-60 m wide to begin with but it becomes 120-150 m around the end and the speed of the river flow decreases. The Orkhon has many species of fish like the pike, Siberian sturgeon, taimen, asian common asp, Siberian grayling, roach etc.
There are many rocks and boulders around the river as well as some waterfalls like a small waterfall with 4-5 m height and the Ulaan tsutgalan waterfall biggest in Mongolia at a height of 26 m. The Orkhon river Valley has been protected since 2006 as a National Park.
Tsogt Taij, a son of Baarai and direct descendant of Gersenz and further Genghis king, was born in 1581. He was well educated person who had learnt Mongolian traditional script himself at home. He was a translator, great poet and military person. He was a follower of red sect of Buddhism and used to firmly support the policy of Ligden khan, last king of Great Mongol Empire. In Mongolian history, his name was immortalized as he commanded 40.000 troops for the sake of Mongolian independence. In 1637, he was killed while he was battling with Ligden king against Manchu.
Ruins of Tsogt Taij
Ruins of Tsogt Taij are located on banks of Tuul River. The building of this castle has been attributed by Mongols to the Khalkh prince Tsogt Taij (1580-1637) famous for his fierce resistance to Manchu expansion. He was a cultivated and astute nobleman, poet and a Buddhist, who decided to join forces with Ligden Khaan, the last king of Genghis – Khan’s generation, in hope of restoring the old power and unity of the Mongols. They were defeated and the White Palace of Tsogt Taij was burnt terrifically.
The walls of the castle and the other buildings were made of slabs of uncarved stone. Tall half- destroyed doors lead into the courtyard with collapsed Buddha stupa. An enormous grinding stone is located near the ruins. Just to the west of the ruins is a large stone with inscription dated to 1624, attributes to Tsogt Taij. This is the largest rock inscription found in Mongolia.
Shankh Khiid (Shankh monastery)
Shankh Khiid is located 20 km south of Erdene zuu Monastery. The monastery formerly known as Baruun Khuree (western monastery) was once one of the most important in Uvurkhangai province. Founded in 1647, Shankh hiid was nomadic before being fixed in the present site in 1787. More than 23 temple halls were built here, the last in 1885. In 1921, Baruun Khuree still had about 1500 monks. Its history is linked to Zanabazar, the first Bogd Khan. The temple complex is being gradually restored and monks have returned to celebrate services here and arranging teachings of Buddha in the recently rebuilt school.
Shargaljuut hot spring
This is located in town of Bayankhongor (altitude 1492 m) 16 km northeast of the narrow gorge on the west bank of Shargaljuut River (in Erdenetsogt village). People from all over the country come to these boiling hot springs (90°C) which are used to treat different kinds of diseases (there are about 300 springs here).
Taikhar Chuluu (Taikhar Rocks)
Legendary rock Taikhar, lies 20 km northwest of Tsetserleg village. Taikhar chuluu, also known as Taikhar Rock, is large granite around 18 m high rock formation in northern part of Bulgan Mountain in central Mongolia.
The rock has large number of inscriptions in various scripts including Turkish, Uighur, Mongolian, Tibetan, Manchu, Sogda and Chinese too. The purpose and meaning of inscriptions are various types but usually for blessings, praises and sometimes referred to ancient poems. The earliest and most famous one is Turkish "Orkhon-Yenisei writings" which was written in Runic language belonged to VI-VIII AD.
Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake
Known in English as the Great White Lake, is an astonishingly beautiful lake with relatively pure fresh water in Tariat, Arkhangai province is certainly one of the picturesque tourist attraction sites of Mongolia. The lake, which was formed by lava flows from volcanic eruption surrounded by extinct and craterous volcanoes and is closer to Ulaanbaatar. The lake is 16 km long, 6 km wide, 4-10 m deep with its deepest point at 28 meters. It covers 61, 1 sq. km. The lake supports pike, other fish and rare birds.
Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur was designated as the Wetland of International Importance during the Ramsar Convention in 1999. The lake, birds and mountains are protected with 77,267 hectare Khorgo-Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park in 1997. This is the perfect place for swimming, fishing, bird watching and relaxing.
Tonyukuk Monument is located in 60 km in the east of Ulaanbaatar, near Nalaikh town. This is memorial complex with burial tomb devoted for Tonyukuk, a wise minister served for three kings of Turkic tribe. This memorial complex concludes two stone monuments that were created while he was alive and real story of him was written on it accompanied by nine granite human-shaped stones.
Tsenher hot spring (Blue Hot Spring)
Tsenher is a natural hot spring flows out for whole year from the ground at 85°C; the second hottest spring in Central Mongolia. It is located 1860 m above the sea level in 480 km from Ulaanbaatar, 28 km south of Tsetserleg town in Arkhangai province.
The spring comes from deep of the ground and its water is not mixed with soil water. The water has high mineral content containing calcium, sodium, phosphate and sulfate which is good for solving number of health problems and is effective for joints, nervous system, low blood pressure, skin diseases, and rectum. Sometimes, people drink the water for diabetes and stomach ulcer and disabilities. Surrounding area is home of species of medicinal herbs.
Night bath is great, sitting in the pool drinking while looking at the stars in the dark is one of the favorite activities here. The open air baths are recommended. This area has several other hot springs named Bor tal, Gyalgar, Tsagaan Sum etc.
This River rises in the Khangai Mountain Range and flows 243 km southwards to feed Orog Lake.
Turtle Rock (Melkhi Khad)
It is located at 60 km from Ulaanbaatar in Terelj National park. The park has many rock formations for rock climbers, and includes two famous formations named for things they resemble: Turtle Rock and the Old Man Reading a Book (Praying Lama Rock).
The Turtle Rock or called Melkhi Khad by the locals is an interesting rock formation looks like a turtle.
Among the better known sites, Turtle Rock is the most prominent. Viewed from the east, it looks like an ancient tortoise-a symbol of wisdom, longevity, and good fortune. The rock is 24 meter high.
This River takes its source from Baga Khentii mountain range, a branch of Khentii Mountain Range, and then flows for 819 km through about 10 villages of 4 provinces like Khentii, Bulgan, Selenge and Tuv until joining to Orkhon River. Total area of its water collection is 50400 km. This river is fed by 20 big and small streams and rivers approximately.
Tuvkhun Khiid (Tuvkhun Monastery)
Enlightened Bogd Gegeen Zanabazar who was extraordinary talented sculpture man, linguistics, poet and the founder of yellow Buddhist religion in Mongolia chose the place to build a monastery in 1648, when he was 14 years old. He made his famous creatures in the monastery. The construction of the monastery started in 1651and Tuvkhun khiid was built in 1653 at Shireet Ulaan Mountain at 2,312 m above the sea level, the most beautiful scenery in Khangai Mountains.
Tuvkhun monastery consisted of a stupa, prayer wheels and 14 temples which originally had about 2600 lamas (monks).
In 1688 the soldiers of Oirad destroyed the monasteries and then it was restored in between 1760 to 1786.
You can see the stunning nature surrounded the temples and inspired by its atmosphere while you are introduced to unique formations of rocks and beautiful and traditional arts made by Mongolian craftsmen.
Lake Ugii is the nearest lake to Ulaanbaatar. Ugii Lake is located in Ugiinuur, Arkhangai province and one of the marvelous lakes in Mongolia with almost round shape. Tough this small lake covers only 27 km.sq, it is the main destination for fishers and boating adventurers. The lake is on the height of 1337 m above the sea level and average depth of the Lake is 6.64 m and depth of most of the part is not exceed than 3 m. Deepest point is over 15 m. Its shore length is over 23 km.
Also it is enthusiastic for swimming, having sunbath, horse and camel ridding and hiking.
It is home to various species of birds and fish. Pike, catfish, barscharten are common. Cranes, ducks, swan goose and white spoonbill and Dalmatian pelican come at the end of April.
Uguudei king (1186-1241)
He was crowned at the Ikh Khuraldai tribal meeting in 1229. During his reign of 13 years, he let Ikh Khraldai to adopt state laws, initiated State Tax Law, and established Horse Relay Station and improved political structure. He continued the war against Middle Asia invading China in 1234 and swept through Korea. Uguudei expanded the Karakorum, an ancient capital city with beautiful palace amused by guests in it. During his rule, metal production greatly was developed; as a result, war weapons were produced in large amount.
Ulaantsutgalan waterfall (Red Flow)
It cascades from an impressive height of 20 m and its width is 10 m Bat-Ulzii, Uvurkhangai province. The waterfall was formed by unique combination of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes about 20,000 years ago. The fall is naturally impressive after a heavy rain. Ulaantsutgalan waterfall is the biggest waterfall in Mongolia which is registered in UNESCO World Heritage List.
The river Ulaan (Red) makes gorgeous waterfall while it drops of the mountain to Orkhon river. Thus, locals call the waterfall as Ulaantsutgalan which means Red Flow. This area is covered by over 10 m thick lava layer with interesting shapes of bubbles and smaller waterfalls with 4-5 m height.
The area is ideal for fishing, horse riding, cycling, hiking and photography. The rivers have handful species of river fish such as pike, sturgeon, hucho taimen, common asp, Siberian grayling, roach etc. Yak herder nomads are common in this area.
The Uran-Togoo Tulga Uul Natural Monument is the national protected area located in Khutag-Undur, Bulgan Province around the extinct volcanoes of Uran Togoo, Tulga Togoo, and Jalavch Uul. Uran Uul is a pretty good place to have a break during the journey to Khuvsgul lake.
Uran Togoo extinct volcano – It is situated in Khutag-Undur village of Bulgan province. Its natural formation is the most beautiful and inactive volcano in Mongolia. This volcano has been bursting in Quaternary era and erupted 20000-25000 years ago. It has 1.5 m deep small lake on the bottom.
Uvgun khiid (Old Man Monastery)
Uvgun Khiid is located near the Tarni River in far south of Gurvaljin village. It is the ruins of Buddhist monastery in 17th century and is located in a secret place in small valley named as Khiidiin Am almost completely surrounded by Rocky Mountains. According to some legends, the monastery was built here by Tibetans in the mid-17th century and it was stayed for around 50 years. During the time of Khalkh-Oirad war, in 18th century, monastery was burnt down.
In 1992s, it was decided to rebuild the monastery.
Born in 1635, Zanabazar is one of Mongolia’s most remarkable and versatile figures. At the tender age of three, he was deemed to be a possible gegeen, or saint, so at the age of 14, he was sent to Tibet to study Buddhism under the Dalai Lama. A descendent of Genghis Khan, he was also proclaimed the reincarnation of the Jonangpa line or Tibetan Buddhism and became the first Bogd Gegeen. He is also known in Mongolia as Undur Gegeen.
While in Tibet, Zanabazar learnt the skills of bronze casting. He returned to kick-start a Mongolian artistic renaissance and became Mongolia’s greatest sculptor. He could demonstrate out image of the gods with inside beauty with single molted way of making gods. So his art works are famous and unique in the world. In his spare time, he invented soyombo alphabets in 1680, of which we still use the first letter as the national symbol on our national flag. Zanabazar is also a political figure and his struggle with Zuungar Oirad leader Galdan led to Mongolia’s submission to the Manchus in 1691. Zanabazar died in Beijing in 1723. His body was taken to Urguu city (modern Ulaanbaatar) and later entombed in a stupa in Amarbayasgalant monastery. This temple was taken under state protection since 1998 and was registered by UNESCO in the World Heritage in 1996.You will see many of Zanabazar’s arts in the monasteries and museums in Mongolia, and there is fine collection of his art (particular Tara and Dhyani Buddha Statues) in Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts in Ulaanbaatar.
Zayan Khuree Monastery
It is founded in 17th century housed over 1000 monks before its closure in the 1930s. This complex included several groups of Tibetan and Manchuria style halls. The complex was also the center of trade. At the turn of 19th century Russian and Chinese merchants settled in Tsetserleg village and started up the businesses there. From 1960s monastic buildings were used as a museum and some of the religious objects were saved.