Karakorum

Overview

Introduction

Originally a Mongol encampment, this "City of Black Sand" was the capital built by Genghis Khan's son Ogadei. (Khan hated cities and the people in them and remained a nomad his entire life). Karakorum could once have been called the capital of the known world. From there, Khan ruled the largest land empire the world has ever known. Kublai Khan (Genghis Khan's grandson) abandoned the city and moved his capital to Peking (Beijing), after which Karakorum fell into ruin. Though not much of the ancient city remains today, people still go to visit the impressive 16th-century Lamaist monastery Erdeni Dzu, poke around the area tombs and ancient ruins, enjoy the mountain scenery, see a horse farm and stay overnight in a ger camp. The monastery is a fairly popular tourist stop—one section has been turned into a museum. 200 mi/320 km southwest of Ulaanbaatar.

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