BILGE KHAN AND GENERAL KUL TIGIN COMPLEX (KHUSHUU TSAIDAM MEMORIAL COMPLEX)


This sacred memorial complex dedicated to Bilge khan of Turkic empire, which flourished during the 6th-8th century, and his younger brother Kul Tigin is situated 40km northeast from Karakorum and 20km east from Ordubalik in Khashaat Soum, Arkhangai Aimag. Kul Tigin’s grandson, Iolug Tegin, had this memorial built. Bilge khan’s stele, well known as Orkhon Inscription, is 3,3m high, 1,3m wide and has 68 rows of inscription. Bilge khan, who was the latest king of Turkic empire, ruled its country for 19 years. During the excavation of the memorial in 31th of July, 2001, over 2000 finds were revealed and the most important one among them was a gemstone inlaid golden crown of Bilge khan. It was formerly an entire complex, but only this stele has been remained currently. There are over 40 runic stelae in Mongolia and about 10 of them are located only in the Orkhon Valley; that is why it was named Orkhon Inscription. A trace of square burial protected by a parapet wall was in the complex. But this burial is considered to be an artificial one without a real human corpse which had a symbolic meaning.  Fragment of tiled roof with an image of nomads shooting each other while galloping was found from the site. These 2 stelae of Bilge khan and Kul Tigin are 1km apart from each other. These memorials were recognized as a “cultural landscape” of the UNESCO World Heritage in 1996, although they had been destroyed much throughout its history of over thousand years. Mongolia announced 20.8 sq km area around the complex as a zone under state protection in 1961. Ulaanbaatar, a capital of Mongolia, was once located in the area when its name was Shar Bust Urguu and it had settled here for about 14 years since moved from Lake Shireet Tsagaan.


This monument of Kul-tegin (Kul Tigin), a famous general of Tureg, is situated on right bank of Orkhon River in a valley of Lake Tsaidam 60km north from Karakorum in Khashaat Soum, Arkhangai Aimag. The steles in this complex have been being explored for over hundred years. In 1958 Mongol-Czechoslovakian joint research group excavated the complex completely. Kul-Tegin, a general of Tureg (A.D. 552-745), was born in 684. This intelligent, capable general had devoted himself to state affairs since he was only 16. In 732, after his death in 731 at the age of 46, Bilge king had this sacrifice complex and a temple of worship established. The sacred complex was protected by a 1m-thick bricked fortress surrounded by a moat enclosing 67m long, 29m wide area. Empty space inside the fortress was filled with bricks of 32x32x6cm size. Many finds including mud vase, artifacts and adornments of iron, a roof fragment, a dustpan and a vase were found from the complex. The monuments realistically represent appearance, clothing, utensils and adornments of people of that period.