Karakorum was one of the most important cities in the history of the Silk Road. Founded by Genghis Khan in 1220, Karakorum's development as the capital of the Mongol Empire occurred in the 1230s under the direction of his son Ögedei. The Mongols had a profound impact on the history of trade across Central Asia. Their empire connected east and west, and opportunities for trade and exchange thrived during an era of peace and relative stability across territories under Mongol rule.
Karakorum is located on the most important east-west route across Mongolia, near the Orkhon River. This river valley was regarded as a sacred homeland by steppe people who traditionally based their capitals there. The Mongols would have been aware of the eary history of the region and built on its legacy.
Modern day Karakoram ‘Kharkhorin’ is a typical Soviet era town. Little remains of its historic past but the 16th C monastery Erdene Zuu Khild and the town’s fascinating museum attract visitors in great numbers. Within the museum you’ll find artefacts dating from the 13 and 14th century, pottery, bronzes, coins, religious statues and stone inscriptions. Orkhon valley provides the city with a beautiful setting.