Central Mongolia is beautiful, pristine and rich in wild species and has been keeping many important historical and cultural remains of different historical periods. In central Mongolia, you can discover breathtaking natural beauties, nomadic life, interesting cultural and historical items.
Central Mongolia varies in landscapes as the Gobi desert representative area, rolling hills, grasslands and lush green valleys of forested and bare mountains. The general picture of central Mongolia is sights of nomads’ white gers and their numerous animals grazing fenceless and continuously changing landscapes while driving from the attraction to attraction, from a scenic place to another scenic place. An example of this is: When you travel Mongolia you won’t see big fences to keep animals inside of it. Maybe some small fences close to some gers to protect their herd to be lost in the stormy days and protect their animals from wolves at night in some places. Once, our client saw a large fence had tall grasses in it while traveling and asked the guide about it. Then they found that the grass inside the fence is preserved to cut and feed animals in winter as an emergency feed. Then they had a joke that the farmers of the most countries keep the animals inside barn or fence, but for Mongolians, the fence is to keep animals outside of it.
Vast valley of the Orkhon River is located within 360 to 400 km southeast of Ulaanbaatar. This broad valley attracted attentions of rulers of different Mongol States. Many ancient Mongol States established their capital in this valley such as the capital of Huns State( 209BC-98AD), Syanbi State (1st to 3rd centuries), Nirun State (330-555 AD), Turkic State (552-745AD), Uigur State (750-850AD) and Kidan State. Kharakhorum was a capital of the Great Mongol Empire between 1220-1380. The history says Genghis Khaan chose the Orkhon River Valley and issued a decree to build the capital city there by the Khaan's 15th years anniversary of the reign. The building process of the Kharakhorum city started in 1220 and continued by his successor Ogoodei Khaan. 413 silver coins of over 10 different countries found from the city's site guaranteed that the city was more like trade center than a capital city and was one of the important stops on Silk Road. It surrounded by 4 by 4 km walls had 4 main gates. Different trade went on every gate. Residents of the city classified by their rank. There were over 10 temples, churches and mosques in Kharakhorum. The city was totally sacked by warriors of Chinese Min dynasty in 1380. Now, there is the Kharakhorum Museum display remnants of the ancient city Kharkhorum.
One of the destroyed monasteries of Kharakhorum city started to rebuild using old building materials of the Kharakhorum city in 1586 by a decree of Abtaisain Khan who was the 29th golden generation of Genghis Khaan. Erdenezuu is the largest and oldest monastery in Mongolia. By 1793, there were 62 temples, over 500 gers and houses resided by 10000 monks. In 1937, the communists destroyed many of the monastery's temples. Now, Erdenezuu Monastery consists of 28 temples and serving as a museum displaying masterpieces of Tankas, appliqués, embroideries and sculptures of the 17th -19th centuries. An old Tibetan style temple is an active temple where about 40 monks chant every day in warm seasons. The temples were built by Tibetan, Chinese and Mongolian architectures without using a single nail.
Tovhon monastery was built on the 2312 m rocky top of Shiveet Ulaan Mountain by Zanabazar as a creation temple and meditation center in 1654. Zanabazar was a leader of Mongolian Buddhism, first Bogd (living Buddha), a famous painter, sculptor and created the Soyombo alphabet in the monastery. The first letter of this alphabet is used as a national emblem on the Mongolian flag. Zanabazar created Green Tara and many famous creations in the monastery. The monastery had 14 temples. Some of the temples were destroyed by soldiers of Oirat Mongol/eastern Mongolian Khan Galdnboshigt; his view was against Zanabazar's submission to Manchu. Some of the temples also destroyed by the 1930s communist purge. Now, there are four temples and two stupas. The monastery's chanting activity recovered in 1992. The temples and stupas restored in 2001. The monastery registered in UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage in 1996. The monastery is not the only attraction. Also, the surroundings of the monastery itself and the Orkhon River Valley views are fascinating from the top of the mountain. The valley of the Orkhon River is full of historical remnants. Views of nomadic dwelling gers and their countless animals pasturing freely in the wild make your tour more impressive with some visits to the nomad families and the nomadic experiences. We recommend Tovhon Monastery for people who like hiking and active tour.
Hugnu Khan Mountain is located at the distance of 280 km southwest of Ulaanbaatar by the paved road. This majestic mountain has been worshipping by locals since ancient times until today. The mountain and its surrounding are special as it represents forest, mountain steppe and desert zone in an area. The mountain has some wild animals such as wild mountain sheep, ibex, lynx, deer, wolf, fox, hare, many birds of prey and much more. The mountain has been keeping some historical items such as ancient tombs, burial mounds, rock inscriptions, rock drawings and ruins of monasteries. Two monasteries, named Old and Young monasteries were sacked by soldiers of Galdanboshigt and monks were castrated while tied in rope. So the mountain was named Hugnu Khan meaning “a mountain where people tied in a rope.” You can travel around the mountain hiking, driving, riding a horse or a camel. The area surrounding the mountain is considered the northern edge of the Gobi (Elsentasarkhai) and you can be in the Gobi representative area not traveling to the far south, ride camels through sand dunes, ride horses on the steppes and experience the nomadic life while staying with nomads.