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This short excursion to the ancient capital of Karakorum will give you a new perspective on the nature of the Mongol Empire. Not much remains today of Karakorum, as it was destroyed by clan infighting and it’s materials were used to build the Erdene Zuu Monastery. In an empire of nomads, very few permanent structures were ever erected, and the impermanence of cities and monuments was of little significance to these warriors of the steppe. You will experience the unique setting of Karakorum, located on one of the major trading routes of the ancient Silk Road, and visit nearby places that will give you further insight into the natural and human history of Mongolia.Mongolia signed the World Heritage Convention of UNESCO in February of 1992 and until recently only had one site inscribed on the World Heritage List. One of the most important suggestions for the list was the 'Cultural Landscape of the Orkhon Valley'. Archaeological finds document continued occupation of the Orkhon Valley during the last 100,000 years. It is considered the cradle of central Asian nomadic civilizations. Different ancient people, like the Huns and the Uighur, settled here commencing in the 3rd century B.C.Tsenher is hot spring, which emerges from the ground at 85 Celsius degree. The waters of the spring contain hydrogen sulfide. This health spa offers for tourists indoor and outdoor baths.
Drive to Mount Khogno Khan Nature Reserve. On reaching the mountain after 4-5 hours you will arrive at a ger camp infront of this beautifully forested and rocky mountain. The mountain is home to hundreds of birds, deer, and gazelle. You will be free to do whatever you wish in the afternoon, but you could go hiking in the mountains or ride to the "Piece of Sand" sand-dunes on the nearby steppe. There are also two ruined monasteries around the mountain to discover. Stay over night in ger camp.
Drive to Karakorum in the morning and visit Erdenezuu monastery. Karakorum is the ancient capital of Chingis Khaan's Mongolia. The Monastery was built in 1586 and is surrounded by a massive 400m x 400m wall. Only a few temples remain standing after the communist purges. In previous times the grounds held over 60 temples with 10,000 monks using them for their daily worship. Then continue driving to Tsenkher hot spring. Have a relaxed evening taking a hot bath in the hot spring water. Stay over night in the ger camp at Tsenkher hot spring.
A day trip to Tsetserleg, the provincial centre of Arkhangai Aimag. On reaching the town you will visit the aimag museum, Zaya's monastery, and the local market. Then drive towards north of Tsetserleg and see the legendary Taikhar rock. Return to the same ger camp at the hot spring.
Drive back to Karakorum via the Orkhon Valley visiting all the historic spots along the way: Okrhonii Khar Balgas (Uigur capital), Khoshoo tsaidam (Turkish stones and remains), Chilin monastery and the remains and statues that belong to the Jujan and Hunnu periods. There is also a small lake called Lake Ogii where you can enjoy some hiking. Come to Karakorum and stay over night at the ger camp.
Drive back to Ulaanbaatar. On the way you will have a chance to visit Khustain Nuruu (Birch mountain) Nature Reserve. The nature reserve is a mountain where wild Prejevalsky horses are being re-introduced. You can have a guided tour in the mountains and get acquanted with the horse preserving project. After that you return to Ulaanbaatar.