Visit the ruined city of Kara Korum, Genghis Khan’s capital. This UNESCO-listed 13th century city served as the seat of power for an empire that stretched across two continents. At its zenith Kara Korum was visited by delegations from all over the world. Legend says that in the central square there once stood a beautiful fountain in the shape of a tree. Built by a French master, the tree was entwined with snakes made of gold and silver, and from their mouths poured all manner of intoxicating beverages. An image of this fountain can be found on the backs of some Mongolian banknotes.
Kara Korum had served as capital for only 40 years when Kublai Khan moved the capital to Beijing. The city was later destroyed by invading Manchurians. All that visibly remains today is the enigmatic Turtle Rock, made of stone and weighing several tons. It is thought the turtle sculpture stood at the corner of this once vast city and served to protect the city against evil forces.
PUBLISHED: July 19, 2013