Genghis Khan Mausoleum and Genghis Khan Temple.
Random photo: Impressions of China
Original name, Temujin or Temuchin, Mongol conqueror was enshrined in Gandeli Steppe, Yijinhuolo Banner in southwestern part of Inner Mongolia. The 1,500-square-meter mausoleum consists of mainly of a row of three yurt-shaped palaces with domes of glazed yellow tiles bordered with blue, white walls and vermilion gates. An east-west corridor connects the three structures. Leading to the gate of each building is a flight of eighty-one steps, flanked by pines and halls to match the central one. In the southeastern corner of the compound stands a palace in which the Khan used to reside when he was away from his capital.
Genghis Khan 成吉思汗
Born in 1162 near the Onon River in Mongolia, the Khan-to-be was named Temujin. At that time, feuding Mongol tribes were at each other’s throats, killing and looting at will. Simultaneously, the rulers of the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) in North China, founded by nomadic Nüzhen people, ruthlessly exploited the Mongol tribes and played them one against the other. The Mongols’ common desire to end this age-old vendetta and to free themselves from the Jin rulers set the stage for Temujin’s historical mission.
Tempered by harsh life on the steppe, his character was taking shape amid an atmosphere of hatred and a fierce competition for survival. One day an argument about a fish and a bird arose between the 9-year-old Temujin and his brother. The boy who was to become the “universal ruler” of the Mongols cold bloodedly shot his brother to death with an arrow. Temujin laid the foundation of his unprecedented empire by uniting and organizing fragmented Mongol tribes through alliances, marriage, sworn oaths of brotherhood and military annexation. By a combination of discipline, cunning, ruthlessness, superior organization and the ability to attract and retain personal loyalties, he eliminated his enemies and brought under his rule the related Tatar, Kereit, Naiman and Merkit tribes. In 1206, he was named supreme leader of the Mongols in a great assembly called the Huraltai. The assembly conferred upon him the title Genghis Khan, meaning “universal ruler.” In the same year, Genghis Khan (1162-1227) drew up an important legal code, the Great Yasa; in it, he laid down basic rules for the court, army, and nation in civil, criminal and commercial law. Mongol laws and political administration had a strong influence on early Russian institutions, dominated by the Tatars for more than 200 years.
The Mongol society under Genghis Khan was based on a kind of political, economic and military system rolled into one. Breaking down old tribal distinctions, the Khan divided the Mongol empire into 95 Qianhu (literally 1,000households in Chinese), which were in turn sub-divided into 10 households. Mongol nobles were placed at each level as political, economic and military chiefs. In these units, Mongols were cavalrymen as well as cowherds. The Mongols paid their taxes to the nobles, herded their animals, milked their cows and made donations of unpaid labour in peace time. However, each Mongol possessed his own horses, bows, spikes and armour and was always ready to turn from a herdsman into a formidable fighter.
Genghis Khan formulated a series of legal and political institutions from which he forged a homogeneous Mongol nation, ethnically, economically, and culturally.
This achievement differed from khanates established by Mongol conquerors in West Asia and Russia, which were no more than temporary military administrative amalgamations.
Having united the Mongols, Genghis Khan turned to conquest in 1207. The bloody campaigns resulted in the conquest of the Jin Dynasty, the Muslim kingdom of Khorezm (which now covers northern Iran, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Caucasus) and the kingdom of Xixia established by the Tibetan Tanguts in West China’s Gansu and Qinghai provinces. His strategic talents and his iron will also played a decisive part in the Mongol conquest.
Why was Genghis Khan destined to become the master of most of Eurasia? All the Mongol tribes together numbered about one million men, women and children, who afforded Genghis Khan a maximum of 125,000 warriors. How was he able to come literally so close to becoming the “ruler of the universe?”
As a nation set to conquer, the daily life of the Mongols was a continuous rehearsal for war. Clad in leather and furs, leading extra horses as remounts and capable of riding several days and nights in succession with a minimum of rest and food, these warriors introduced “blitzkrieg” into the 13th century world. During a campaign on the plains of Hungary, they are said to have covered 270 miles in three days. They carried leather bags for water, which when empty could be inflated for use in swimming across rivers. Normally, they lived off the countryside, but if necessary they drank the blood of their horses and the milk of their mares. The grassland nights are full of cheer and joy—the tent lights are turned on, fragrant wine is poured and melodies come from the matouqin, a bowed stringed musical instrument with a scroll carved like a horse’s head.
Mongols were masters of the tactic of feigned retreat, espionage and psychological warfare. Butchering his enemies in cold blood was Genghis Khan’s own version of psychological warfare. In addition, the Mongols were quick to adopt new weapons and techniques, many of them learned from the Chinese. These included powerful catapults and battering rams, and the tactics of sappers, who tunneled under walls and blew them up with gunpowder.
Genghis Khan appeared at the right historical moment—a time when China was divided into three fragments with the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) ruling the north, the Song Dynasty the south, and the Tibetan Tanguts ensconced in the northwest. A long period of peace and prosperity had corrupted the rulers and weakened the will of the people. All this lent strength to Genghis Khan and abetted the spread of his empire.
Genghis Khan and his descendants swept across Eurasia on horseback and established the vast Mongolian Empire. Genghis is a god on the grassland and Mongolians talk about that period of history with a sense of pride. Almost every person can tell a tale about him, his portrait is worshipped at home and people pray in his Temple for blessings.
Genghis Khan Temple 成吉思汗庙
The only Temple in the world that commemorates the life of Chinese hero Genghis Khan, in the northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, was expanded at a cost of 220 million yuan (US $ 26.5 million) plan. The Temple is located in the city of Ulan Hot, the Hong Kong-based World Chinese Advancement Association funded the project in accordance with a recently signed agreement between it and the city’s government. Genghis Khan was born into an aristocratic family near the Onon River in Mongolia. In 1206 he unified the Mongol tribes and became Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. He was later conferred with the title of Genghis Khan, meaning “universal ruler” by the supreme assembly. One of his grandsons, Kublai Khan (1215-1294, ruled 1260-1294) later became the first emperor of China’s Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). Built in 1940, the Genghis Khan Temple features architectural styles of the Mongolian, Han and Tibetan nationalities. As a relic site with regional-level protection, the Temple attracts more than 200,000 tourists annually. According to the expansion plan, a dozen scenic spots including a palace, an altar and an exhibition hall, will be constructed. The project will be completed within three to five years (2005-2007).
More About Inner Mongolia
- Genghis Khan
Mausoleum and Temple.