Orkhon Valley World heritage Site
Orkhon Valley is located in the North of the Ovorkhangai province, in the central part of Mongolia, about 360 kilometres (224 miles) Southeast of Ulaanbaator. With at the base of the Khangai mountain range which one of the three biggest mountain range, this site is now under protection of UNESCO from the 1992 covering 121.967 hectares along the Orkhon River.
The valley of the Orkhon River accommodates many historical and cultural vestiges, because it was one of main center of nomadic civilization since the prehistoric period.
The main monuments of the Orkhon Valley are as follows:
- The Orkhon monuments are early 8th-century Turkic memorials to Bilge Khan and Kul Tigin, the most impressive monuments from the nomadic Göktürk Empire. They were discovered by Russian archaeologists in 1889 and deciphered by Vilhelm Thomsen in 1893.
- Ruins of Khar Balgas, an 8th-century capital of the Uyghur Empire, which cover 50 square km and contain evidence of the palace, shops, temples, monasteries, etc.
- Ruins of Genghis Khan's capital Karakorum, which could have included the famed Xanadu palace.
- Erdene Zuu monastery is the first Buddhist monastery established in Mongolia. It was partly destroyed by Communist authorities in 1937-40.
- Tuvkhun Hermitage is another spectacular monastery, overlooking a hill at 2,600 meters above sea level. It, too, was almost totally destroyed by the Communists.
- Remains of the 13th and 14th century Mongol palace at Doit Hill, thought to be Ögedei Khan's residence.
- The Ulaan Tsutgalan waterfall, a waterfall, ten meters wide and twenty meters high, that can sometimes go dry or even freeze during winter.