Completed by the second Great Khan, Ogedai, the city of Karakorum was the capital of the Mongol Empire for 40 years and remained an important administrative centre until it was destroyed by Chinese troops during the Ming dynasty.
What was left was used to build the Erdene Zuu monastery, the oldest Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. During the communist era when religion was forbidden, it was a museum for many years, but democratic reform in the early 1990s enabled it once again to be a place of worship.
A homestay can be arranged in the nearby Tsenkher Valley, staying in a ger and riding out on horses.
Top itineraries in Karakorum
Mongolia is enormous. Three times the size of France, it is nonetheless sparsely populated; horses outnumber people three to one here. Many of these people pursue a nomadic existence. Travel from Ulaanbaatar to the stark but beautiful steppe in order to get a sense of this traditional lifestyle, wh…
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