Kharkhorin - In 1220 Chinggis Khaan established the capital of Mongolian empire on the fertile plains along the Orkhon River. This is called Kharkhorin, 373 km from Ulaanbaatar city. Kharkhorin is located at the lower end of the upper valley of the Orkhon River, which is part if the World Heritage Site Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape. The location marks the eastern foothills of the Khangai Mountains. Kharkhorin town population is 8,977 (2003), city area is 20.5 km2.
Kharkhorin was a busy spindled city with high civilization built by the best artists and masters of antiquity. But it was completely destroyed in the fierce battles of the internecine war. The foundations of Karakorum's buildings are all underground and little has been excavated, so you need lots of imagination when contemplating the grandness of it all. The plain was littered with bricks, ruined walls and pillars until the mid-16th century. The stone, blocks and other building materials from ruins of Kharkhorin were used in the construction of this monastery.
Stone Turtles - Outside the monastery walls, there are two stone turtles. Four of these sculptures once marked the boundaries of ancient Karakorum, acting as guards of the city. The turtles originally had an inscribed stone stele mounted vertically on their back. Next to the Turtle Rock you can see an area of raised earth surrounded by a wire fence. This was the alleged site of Uguudei Khaan's palace, who was third son of Chinggis Khaan