Karakorum, the capital of Great Mongol Empire in thirteenth century, is now in heart of Mongolia, 400 km from Ulaanbaatar, the modern capital. It is a magnificent historic site that takes you back to thirteenth century. Chinggis Khan established a supply base here but major construction of a proper capital was built during the reign of Ögedei Khan, son of Chinggis Khan. The city itself was a major stop on the Silk Road during the 40 years as the capital of Great Mongol Empire.
Mongolian kings’ multilateral policy attracted foreign and domestic merchandisers, international traders and skilled workers from Asia and Europe. The open policy to religion made the city religiously so diverse. Buddhism was very popular in the city as was Shamanism, the Mongolian indigenous religion, and Islam and Christianity were brought by merchants and missionaries.
By the time Marco Polo reached China in the early 1270s, Khubilai Khan made Beijing the Empire’s capital, replacing Karakorum. This was the beginning of fall of the great city.
Unfortunately, in 1380 the great city was destroyed by Manchurians who partially invaded Mongolia in the second half of 15th century. The leftovers of the city were later used to build Erdenezuu, magnificent rich Buddhist monastery in Mongolia, in 1586. The monastery now runs as a museum displaying the extraordinary arts and culture of Buddhism in Mongolia.
Karakorum museum, built on the base of great city, displays dozens of artifacts dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries which you must visit while in Mongolia.