Karakorum – City of Genghis Khan (1 Subprojects)
Since 1999 the Mongolian-German Karakorum-Expedition has been investigating the ancient Mongolian capital Karakorum. The archaeological excavations in the “city of Genghis Khan” have provided new information that changes the previously known image of Karakorum fundamentally.

Karakorum – City of Genghis Khan

By founding a city in the Mongolian Orkhon Valley, 300 km southwest to the modern capital Ulaanbaatar, the old Mongols followed the tradition of precedent nomadic tribes like the Uyghurs. As heartland of nomadic empires the Orkhon Valley plays an important role in the Mongolian past. Karakorum, the “city of Genghis Khan”, is still vivid in the memory of contemporaries as the birthplace of the first Mongolian state.

Today, only the rising ground testimonies the existence of medieval city Karakorum. In the 16th century the Buddhist monastery Erdene Zuu was built south to the urban area, partially by using building material stemming from Karakorum.
A bilingual Mongolian-Chinese inscription which was found within the em quad of Erdene Zuu, dates back to the year 1346 and proclaims 1220 as the foundation date of Karakorum.
While science assigns that date to pitching a camp in the Orkhon Valley made by Genghis Khan, the actual founding of a permanent city is ascribed to his son Ögedei Khan; thereby laying the base for a growing empire– an empire which should include large parts of Eurasia at its zenith.


Christina Franken
Referentin für Mittelasien
Forschungsstelle Ulaanbaatar
Dürenstraße 35-37
53173 Bonn
+49 228 997712-0
+49 228 997712-49

Project Funding