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Orkhon Valley
Orkhon Valley
Cultural Landscape (Mongolian: Орхоны хөндийн соёлын дурсгал) sprawls along the banks of the Orkhon River
Orkhon River
in Central Mongolia, some 320 km west from the capital Ulaanbaatar. It was inscribed by UNESCO
UNESCO
in the World Heritage List as representing evolution of nomadic pastoral traditions spanning more than two millennia. (See List of World Heritage Sites in Mongolia) Importance[edit]

Location of the Orkhon Valley.

For many centuries, the Orkhon Valley
Orkhon Valley
was viewed as the seat of the imperial power of the steppes. The first evidence comes from a stone stele with runic inscriptions, which was erected in the valley by Bilge Khan, an 8th-century ruler of the Göktürk Empire. Some 25 miles to the north of the stele, in the shadow of the sacred forest-mountain Ötüken, was his Ördü, or nomadic capital. During the Qidan domination of the valley, the stele was reinscribed in three languages, so as to record the deeds of a Qidan potentate. Mountains were considered sacred in Tengriism
Tengriism
as an axis mundi, but Ötüken was especially sacred because the ancestor spirits of the khagans and beys resided here. Moreover, a force called qut was believed to emanate from this mountain, granting the khagan the divine right to rule the Turkic tribes.[1] Whoever controlled this valley was considered heavenly appointed leader of the Turks and could rally the tribes. Thus control of the Orkhon Valley
Orkhon Valley
was of the utmost strategic importance for every Turkic state. Historically every Turkic capital (Ördü) was located here for this exact reason. There were many houses by the bank but they are all gone now. Sites[edit] The main monuments of the Orkhon Valley
Orkhon Valley
are as follows:

The Orkhon monuments
Orkhon monuments
are early 8th-century Turkic memorials to Bilge Khan and Kul Tigin, the most impressive monuments from the nomadic Göktürk Empire. They were discovered by Russian archaeologists in 1889 and deciphered by Vilhelm Thomsen in 1893. Ruins of Khar Balgas, an 8th-century capital of the Uyghur Empire, which cover 50 square km and contain evidence of the palace, shops, temples, monasteries, etc. Ruins of Genghis Khan's capital Karakorum, which could have included the famed Xanadu palace. Erdene Zuu monastery
Erdene Zuu monastery
is the first Buddhist
Buddhist
monastery established in Mongolia. It was partly destroyed by Communist authorities in 1937-40. Tuvkhun Hermitage is another spectacular monastery, overlooking a hill at 2,600 meters above sea level. It, too, was almost totally destroyed by the Communists. Remains of the 13th and 14th century Mongol palace at Doit Hill, thought to be Ögedei Khan's residence. The Ulaan Tsutgalan waterfall, a waterfall, ten meters wide and twenty meters high, that can sometimes go dry or even freeze during winter.

References[edit]

^ Franke, Herbert. The Cambridge History of China. Cambridge University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-521-21447-5. Page 347.

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World Heritage Sites in Mongolia

Great Burghan Khaldun Mountain and its surrounding sacred landscape Orkhon Valley
Orkhon Valley
Cultural Landscape Uvs Lake
Uvs Lake
Basin (with Russia)

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Göktürks

Turkic Khaganate

Bumin Qaghan Issik Qaghan Muqan Qaghan Taspar Qaghan Ashina Anluo Ishbara Qaghan Bagha Qaghan Tulan Qaghan (Istämi) (Empress Ashina) (Apa Qaghan) (Tamgan)

Western Turkic Khaganate

Tardu Niri Qaghan Heshana Khan Sheguy Tong Yabghu Qaghan Külüg Sibir Irbis Bolun Cabgu Dulu Khan Ishbara Qaghan Yukuk Shad Irbis Seguy Hallig (Bagha Shad) (Böri Shad)

Eastern Turkic Khaganate

Yami Qaghan Shibi Qaghan Chulo Qaghan Illig Qaghan Qilibi Qaghan Chebi Qaghan Ashina Nishufu Ashina Funian (Ashina Jiesheshuai)

Second Eastern Turkic Khaganate

Ilterish Qaghan Qapaghan Qaghan Inel Khagan Bilge Khagan Yollıg Khagan Tengri Qaghan Kutluk Yabgu Khagan Irterish Qaghan Özmiş Khagan Kulun Beg (Kul Tigin) (Tonyukuk) (Po Beg)

Western Turkic Protectorate

Exiled House A

Ashina Mishe Ashina Yuanqing Ashina Xian Ashina Zhen

Exiled House B

Ashina Buzhen Bugri qaghan (Ashina Qushraq) Ashina Huaidao Ashina Xin

Göktürk culture

Ashina clan Ashide clan Tengrism Asena Otukan Suyab Khagan Kurultai Yabgu Ishad Elteber Old Turkic language Old Turkic alphabet Orkhon inscriptions Orkhon Valley Turks in the Tang military Ülüş system

Göktürk wars and treaties

Göktürk civil war Battle of Bukhara Göktürk–Persian Wars

First Second Third

Tang Eastern Turk campaign Xueyantuo Tang Western Turk campaigns

Conquest

Battle of Bolch

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