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Terelj National park in Mongolia and blue sky

TOP DESTINATIONS OF CENTRAL MONGOLIA

TERELJ NATIONAL PARK

Turtle rock of Terelj National Park.

The park is situated 70 km northeast of Ulaanbaatar. It takes nearly two hours to drive from the capital. The Park lies 1600 meters high and offers excellent hiking, horse riding, and rock climbing opportunities. The landscape is similar to the Alps.
It is a national park that started to develop in the 1960s and was officially designated as a national park in 1994. Inside the Park are protected animal ranges such as birds (250 species), moose, and bears. As developed for tourism, some Ger camps have car parking and electricity. Most tourist camps work only during summer seasons, and a few operate the whole year round.

Turtle Rock, known as Melkhi Khad by the locals, is a massive rock formation that looks like a turtle. Turtle Rock is the primary image of the National Park. Besides that, you may discover many interesting rock formations from the huge Rocky Mountains of the Terelj.

CHINGGIS KHAN EQUESTRIAN STATUE COMPLEX

Mongolia reveres our king's wisdom rather than his conquests. Nowadays, you can see many tributes to Chinggis Khaan, a man of the millennium. One of them is a gigantic statue of Genghis Khan on the bank of the Tuul River. It is 40 meters tall and wrapped in 250 tons of gleaming stainless steel. The equestrian statue of Genghis Khan was built in 2008 on the occasion of the eight-hundredth anniversary of the foundation of the Mongolian Empire in honor of its founder, Genghis Khan.

The people of Mongolia honored him by erecting the world's giant equestrian statue in his likeness. Located 34 miles from Ulaanbaatar in an area known as Tsonjin Boldog, It's currently the highest statue representing a man on horseback worldwide. It stands on a 10-meter base surrounded by 36 columns representing the 36 kings Mongolia experienced during its history, from the first one, Genghis Khan, to the last one, Ligden Khan.

The statue is turned toward the East, the conqueror's place of birth. Visitors can ascend to the exhibition hall using an elevator at the back of the horse and then walk to its head, passing through its chest and the back of its neck, from where they can have an excellent panoramic view of the complex area and the scenery beyond.

Chinggis Khan statue and blue sky.

HUSTAI NATIONAL PARK

Wild horses in Mongolia.

The Mongolian Government declared Hustai National Park as a Specially Protected Area in 1993, one year after initiating the reintroduction project of the Takhi to the Hustain Nuruu.

The Khustai National Park extends through the Khentii Mountains and includes the western edge of the Mongolian steppe at the boundaries of Altanbulag, Argalant, and Bayankhangai Soums of Tov province. The park is about 95 km from the capital city of Ulaanbaatar to the west.


Hustai has a unique landscape features mountain steppes and steppes, dunes representing the Gobi of Mongolia, and river wetlands. The national park has 450 species of vascular plants and 200 medicinal plants.

UGII LAKE

Lake Ugii is famous for its bird life. About 150 aquatic birds gather at Lake Ugii, including scarce birds like a cape, barren goose, spoonbill, Dalmatian pelican cranes, and ducks. Here, you will come across a water-bird research station.

This bluish lake has an ait where endangered migrating birds breed. Ramsar Convention has registered Ugii Lake in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance as an important breeding and staging area for various waterfowl. Ugii Lake (Ogii Lake) is also renowned for fishing, such as a Luce perch. It is 7 km long and 5 km wide. 50-80 tons of fish are caught annually. The lake is 1337 m above sea level, and at its deepest point, it reaches up to 15 m.

This lake fed from Khugshin Orkhon flows into the Orkhon River. Delicate sand and whetstone coast, the soft waves, and it is very convenient to have boat adventures. Also, it is enthusiastic about swimming, sunbathing, horse and camel riding, and hiking. The lake and Khar Balgas ruins can only be reached from the direct road linking Tsetserleg with Ulaanbaatar.

Clean lake and blue sky.
Huge waterfall and sky.

ORKHON VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

The waterfall is situated in the historically significant Orkhon Valley, whose river flows an incredible 1120km to the north before joining the mighty Selenge River.

 

Also called the Ulaan Tsutgalan River, the waterfall was formed by a unique combination of volcano eruptions and earthquakes about 20,000 years ago.

The fall is naturally most impressive after heavy rain.

TUVKHUN MONASTERY

One of the most beautiful monastery complexes is situated on a forested rocky mountain on the border of the Uvurhangai and Arhangai provinces. 
Enlightened, Bogd Gegeen Zanabazar chose the place to build a monastery in 1648 when he was 14 years old. He made his famous creations in the sanctuary.

The construction of the monastery started in 1651. In 1688, because of Oirad and Khalkh, the soldiers of Oirad destroyed the monasteries.

In 1773, the monastery was restored. 1992 it was taken under state protection, and the government donated 68.4 million tugriks to rebuild the monastery. 
Today, there is an unusual formation of rocks called womb and cradle, symbolizing rebirth, besides four temples and two stupas.

a beautiful temple is located the top of a mountain.

13TH CENTURY CAPITAL KHARKHORUM & ERDENEZUU MONASTERY

very old monasteries and mountains

Mongolia's ancient capital, Kharkhorin, Chinggis Khaan's fabled city, was founded in 1220 in the Orkhon valley at the Silk Road's crossroads. The Mongol Empire governed until Khubilai Khaan moved it to Beijing. The symbolic ruins of Kharkhorin, massive walls (400 m in length) with 108 stupas, surround the first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. Erdene Zuu Monastery was built in 1586. In 1792, it housed 62 temples and 10,000 lamas; since 1990, it has become an active monastery again.
Turtles carved from the stone marked the boundaries of the complex. Nearby, Turkish monuments and rock inscriptions were erected in the 8th and 9th centuries in memory of outstanding fighters for independence. 1220 Chinggis Khan decided to build the capital city of his vast Mongolian empire at Kharkhorum. After Chinggis Khan's death, the building was completed by his son, Ogedei Khan, but Kharkhorum served as the capital for only 40 years before Kublai Khan moved it to what is now Beijing. 

Following the move and the subsequent collapse of the Mongolian empire, Kharkhorin was abandoned and then destroyed by Manchurian soldiers' hordes. Whatever was left was used to help build the Erdene Zuu monastery in the 16th century, severely destroyed during the Stalinist purges. The modern and dreary town of Kharkhorin was built in the same spot.

MANZUSHIR MONASTERY

Manzushir Monastery is a perfect day tour area located in the south of protected Bogd Khan Mountain, 45 km by road from Ulaanbaatar and 8 km northeast of Zuunmod town.
Initially, the monastery was built for Manzushir, a Bodhisat of wisdom in 1773, among the picturesque natural settings of a pine-covered valley dotted with boulders and curved with streams at an altitude of 1800 m. The monastery suffered the same fate as the other monasteries in Mongolia. It had 20 temples housed by 350 monks when it was destroyed during the communist purge in 1937. The main temple of the monastery was partially restored in 1990, but others remain in ruins.
Despite the fact monastery remained in ruins, the surrounding nature is still beautiful. Two objects indestructible were a two-tonne huge bronze cauldron and Buddhist paintings on the rock behind the monastery museum. Except for the painting, you will have awe-inspiring views from the top of the rock. The bronze cauldron was designed to cook food for 1000 monks in a single sitting or said to boil up to 10 sheep meat or 2 cow meat at a time. There is a small natural museum and a monastery museum displaying religious dance tsam masks, tanka religious paintings, musical instruments, and the old monastery photo of how it looked like before the destruction.
Besides, the Manzushir Monastery, the area is a starting point of a hike to Bogd Khan Mountain’s peak Tsetseegun 2256 m. There are many trails to reach the Tsetsee Gun Peak, but the hike from Manzushir is the easiest while it is also the longest. The hiking requires one full day from early morning till evening.
The weather on the flat top of the mountain is cool and windy, sometimes with unpredictable thunderstorms in summer. Therefore, bring food, water, hot tea, wind, and waterproof clothes in summer. On top of the mountain, you will see ovoos or cairns and Ulaanbaatar partially.

an old monastery and beautiful nature

UVGUN KHIID OR ERDENE KHAMBA MONASTERY

Erdene Khamba Temple
Uvgun temple

In the Mountain Khugnu Khan, there are ruins of a temple that is well-known in the history of Mongolian Buddhist Monasteries and Monks named Erdene Khamba Khiid. The Mountain Khugnu Khan is a magnificent mountain area in Mongolia where you can feel unique and picturesque natural scenery encompassing a mixture of mountainous and fertile pastures, steppe, and Gobi desert in which ancient mythical and significant two monasteries are located. Also, you can explore ancient crave mounds.

Initially, in the year 842, an atheist named Landram became the Khan of Tibet and started to destroy monasteries and massively murdered monks throughout the region. According to the ancient legend, a monk called Lhalambaldorj managed to escape from the massacre using his own wisdom and special ways, and then he came to and settled in a meditating monastery located in Khugnu Khan Mountain.

In 1612, a Mongolian monk, Erdenetsorj, built an additional main temple which was 10 meters high and resembled the structure of the 64-room Yamanda monastery causing the creation of a meditation monastery with 13 temples deifying the red deity known as Jamsran Buddha in the current Uvgun monastery. But in 1688 during the Khalkha and Oirad (majority and western Mongols) war, the monastery was destroyed and all the monks were killed. In 1700 the monastery was relocated to a different place with 4 sanctuaries and 3 temples with 200 monks. In 1937, because of the communist regime, the monastery was destroyed again and about 20 high-ranked monks were executed.

Fortunately, today there are two small undestroyed temples and the "Five Khan" monastery walls on the mountain. Today, there are only the ruins. Erdene Khamba Monastery had two sections: the lower one called the Zaluu Khiid, and the upper one called the Uvgun Khiid. The Erdene Khamba Monastery was destroyed during Middle Age feuds between Western and Eastern Mongolians (Dzungaria and Khalkh Mongolia) after the collapse of the Mongol Empire.

The armies of Dzungarian leader, Galdan Boshigt, noticed the golden roofs of the temples in the Mountain and massacred the partisan monks of the rival Zanabazar in 1640 and killed them by tying their necks with a rope (this killing process is called khugnokh in Mongolia) as if they were goats and sheep. The name of the Mountain was given after the huge killing.

GUN GALUUT NATURE RESERVE

Gun Galuut Nature Reserve is a comparatively small area that covers 20,000 hectares, established in 2003 to protect the endangered species and their habitat. You will be at the land of vast steppes will be seen meeting with the horizon, high mountains, rivers, lakes, and wetlands just after 2.5 to 3 hours driving on 113 km paved roads and 17 km earth road to the east of Ulaanbaatar.
Gun Galuut Nature Reserve is a relatively less-traveled area compared to the touristy national parks near Ulaanbaatar and is suitable for nature lovers, wildlife lovers, and bird watchers. The imposing Baits and Berh mountains are habitats for the big-horned wild mountain sheep Argali. Ikh-Gun and Ayaga Lakes, rivers, and wetlands are home to globally threatened species of birds including the Siberian white crane, white-naped crane, hooded crane, red falcon, black vulture, swan goose, black stork, and Asian pond heron, among other birds.
Currently, 63 mammal species, 81 bird species, 3 amphibians, and 38 fish species have been recorded in the Gun Galuut Nature Reserve.
The overnight tour to Gun Galuut Nature Reserve can be combined with a visit to the huge statue of Genghis Khan and Gorkhi Terelj National Park. Gun Galuut has an eco-friendly ger camp where you can experience the nomadic dwelling ger stay. Except for wildlife and nature, hiking, horse riding, nomad family visits, rafting on the Kherlen River, and going fishing are the options.

Beautiful nature and birds

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