The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan

Picture of stupas.

Tibetan Buddhist Stupas

During my first few months in China, I traveled with Katie to northern Inner Mongolia, where we learned a lot about Genghis Khan and his legacy. I couldn't get enough, so a year later, when I heard about a giant memorial to Genghis Khan in the middle of nowhere, I decided that I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to see it.

For the first leg of my journey, I hopped on a train from Beijing to Hohhot, capital of Inner Mongolia. Despite it being fall, the weather was hot and sunny, and I spent a couple of days checking out this interesting city.

Picture of park.

Fall colors in Hohhot.

Picture of calligraphy.

This guy was working on his calligraphy skills in the park. He used water for “paint”, so all of that effort would soon evaporate.

Picture of park.

A beautiful park in Hohhot.

Picture of river.

The river that runs through the park.

Picture of stew.

Hands down, the best mutton stew I have had in China. It would be worth traveling back to Hohhot just to get another bowl.

Picture of grains.

Nuts and grains for sale.

Lots of people were walking and cycling around Hohhot's Muslim district. Here are a few of them:

Picture of man with bike. Picture of couple on scooter. Picture of curious man. Picture of old man. Picture of biking man. Picture of Muslim couple. Picture of guy with glasses. Picture of bread vendors.
Picture of market.

One of the city's main Muslim markets.

Picture of mosque.

The Great Mosque has mini-palms outside, despite the fact that it is in a cold part of China.

Picture of gate.

This is your gateway to fun.

Picture of woman.

This woman is carving wooden beads for a necklace.

After Hohhot, I went for the highlight of this short journey: Genghis Khan's mausoleum. It was in the middle of nowhere in Inner Mongolia, so it was kind of hard to get to. And it rained all day. And this was a cenotaph, where there is a coffin but no actual body, because nobody knows where the Great Khan is buried. It's said that in order to keep the location a secret, all of the priests who participated in the burial were killed by guards, and then those guards were killed by another set of guards. But even lacking Khan's actual remains, the compound was interesting, with lots of ancient(-ish) artifacts.

Picture of mausoleum.

This is the main building. No photography was allowed inside. The walls were painted with giant murals depicting Mongolian history, and there was a large altar dedicated to the Great Kahn himself.

Picture of mound.

Here is one of the memorial mounds outside of the main building.

Picture of stupas.
Picture of group.

I'm the one in the back, with the red jacket.

Picture of shirt.

Ancient Mongolian kid's shirt.

Picture of chalice.

A dragon chalice.

Picture of dog.

A bronze dog from the Yuan dynasty.

Picture of painting.

A figure wall painting from the Qing dynasty.

Picture of ger.

A modern ger for the modern Mongolian family.

Picture of spoon.

Dongsheng, the nearest city to the mausoleum, had some interesting sculptures in its parks.

Picture of statue.

Genghis Kahn's legacy is inescapable in this region.

To be honest, the mausoleum left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. Not that it wasn't impressive, because it was. I think what kept me from loving it was the crappy weather, the lack of public transportation and the high entrance fee. I spent a lot of money going there, and I think that unless you're an absolute Mongolian buff, it's probably not worth the long journey.

Has anyone else out there been to this mausoleum? What did you think?

Here are some more of my pictures from Inner Mongolia.

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