Once the Kharkhorin was the capital city of the Great Mongol Empire under the name Kharakhorum. In 1220, Chinggis Khaan founded Kharakhorum city on the bank of the Orkhon river (present location of Kharkhorin village) , and the city was developed as the capital city of the Great Mongol Empire during Ogedei Khan’s reign. As the vast empire connected east and west, Kharakhorum was one of the most important cities in the history of world trade holding an intense impact on the Silk Road.
The city had a surrounding wall with four stone turtles which two of them still exist witnessing centuries’ history and centuries’ ahead. The stone turtles used to symbolise longevity and solidarity of the city. The Great Mongol Empire was governed from Kharakhorum city until Khubilai Khan settled the capital in Beijing. In 1380, Kharakhorum city was destroyed by Ming troops.
Another golden era of the region began in the summer of 1856, as the Erdene Zuu Monastery was built on the ruin of Kharakhorum city. By 1872 the monastery contained over 500 buildings including 62 temples and housed 1500 monks. Unfortunately, the majority of the temples and other buildings were destroyed during the political repression in the 1930s, as it happened to monasteries throughout Mongolia.
The present-day Kharkhorin is a lively village situated 358 km away from Ulaanbaatar city. The location marks the easternmost foothills of the Khangai Mountains, where they meet the rolling steppe of central Mongolia. As it contains historically valuable sites at the same time as situated in the beautiful Orkhon valley, Kharkhorin town is registered to UNESCO’s World Heritage Site as a part of Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape in 2004.
In a day you can travel thru the 13th and 16th century of Mongolian history as the Kharakhorum museum takes you in the glorious capital city of Great Mongol Empire while Erdene Zuu Monastery shows off its beauty and makes you wonder about Buddhist philosophy.
There are numerous types of accommodations settled in the town and around the scenic valley to ensure your pleasant stay in the area.