Erdene Zhu Monastery
Erdene Zhu (Thousand Treasures) Monastery near Kara Korum has remained intact since its construction in 1586, and is the first Buddhist center in Mongolia. Built from the stones of the ruined capital, it stretches nearly a quarter of a mile in either direction, and is surrounded by a brick wall with 108 stupas, or shrines. At one time there were a thousand monks in residence. During the purges of the 1930s many of the temples were destroyed and the monks were imprisoned or killed. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the monastery has returned to life as Mongolians rediscover their Buddhist heritage. The monastery is included in the UNESCO Site of the Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape.
PUBLISHED: July 8, 2014