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Erdene Zuu Monastery - Kharkhorin

Karakorum (Kharkhorin) is the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire, founded in 1235 by Ogödei, Genghis Khan's son.

In 1260, Kublai Khan transfers the capital to Beijing. Karakorum was destroyed in 1388 by troops of the Ming Dynasty. Of its former glory remain mere turtle statues guarding the entrances to the city walls.

In 1585, the Erdene Zuu Monastery has been built just outside the walls of the ruins of the ancient capital after the introduction of Buddhism in Mongolia as the state religion. Stones from the ruins of Karakorum were used in the construction.

It is surrounded by a wall with 108 stupas. 108 is a sacred number in Buddhism, and it is also the number of beads in a Buddhist rosary (mala).

Erdene Zuu monastery was damaged in the 1680s, but was rebuilt in the eighteenth century and in 1872.

For centuries, Erdene Zuu Monastery was the most important religious shrine in Mongolia.

In 1939 the communist leader Horloogiyn Choybalsan destroyed the monastery, in a purge that resulted in the disappearance of hundreds of monasteries in Mongolia and killed over ten thousand monks. Three small temples and the outer wall with the stupas remained; the temples became museums in 1947.

After the fall of communism in Mongolia in 1990, the monastery was given to lamas and Erdene Zuu became a place of worship once again.
The site was restored at the end of the century and regained part of its religious aspect. Today Erdene Zuu remains an active Buddhist monastery as well as a museum that is open to tourists.

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IMPORTANT - Flights in Mongolia


Be aware that very few airlines go to Mongolia, flights are therefore quickly fully booked, especially between June and September. Book at least 6 months in advance to have the best air fares.
If your luggage has been delayed, the airlines do NOT deliver it in Mongolia, they keep it available in Ulan Bator. If your tour has already started, and you are already in the Orkhon Valley for example, it can be very expensive to deliver it.
We can do it for you at extra cost:
- 50 € for a delivery inside Ulan Bator
- 100 € for a delivery in Hustai
- 200 € for a delivery in Khogno Khan
- 300 € for a delivery in Karakorum, the Orkhon Valley or Arkhangai
- 400 € for a delivery at Lake Khövsgöl or in the Gobi Desert
This cost includes the driver & the vehicle for 1 or 2 days depending on the distance + fuel for the vehicule for the round trip + meals and accommodation for the driver if the roundtrip is more than 1 day.
If your flight is late, the same rates apply if you need a private transfer.