Karakorum & Erdene Zuu Monastery
Karakorum, the historical capital of Mongolia, was founded in 1220 in the Orkhon valley. Karakorum lasted 140years, 32years of which it was the capital city of the Mongolian empire. Many travelers, including Wilhelm Rubruk in 1254 and Marco Polo in 1274, visited the city. The oldest Mongolian Buddhist Monastery, Erdene Zuu, was built in 1586 by Abtai Sain Khan in central Mongolia on the ruins of the ancient Mongolian capital Karakorum. By 1792, it housed 62 temples and 10,000 monks. During the years of Communism in the late 1930’s, temples and monasteries were closed, ransacked and burned. Fortunately, in the 1960’s, the Monastery was reopened as a museum. Religious services have been reactivated since 1990.