Six students from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College trek across Mongolia in search of illumination, perspective, and the perfect cup of Yak-milk tea.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Two destroyed cities and an oil explosion

We just returned from our first sleep-over trip to Khar Khorum. I am happy to announce that no one wet themselves, called out for mommy or had to be sent home early. We did have a few nose bleeds and were a bit slow in the preparation on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but kept our temper taintrums under controll by taking long naps in our Russian Microbus (a mini van).

Khar Khorum, in addition to being the land of many spellings in the origional city of Chinggis Khan, built in the 1300's and destroyed by the Chinese in the 1600's. The city was rebuilt in the 1700's and renamed Erden Zhu, a monestary for over 1000 monks. The monestary was built from Khar Khorum building materials and is surrounded by a wall of 108 stupas. Out side of the city are more remains of Khar Khorum which are currently under excavation. The ground is littered with shards of pottery from the 1300's. In three minuets Ihad my hands full of pottery, the same ammount which last year required digging 900 test pitts. (Refresher: last year I worked in mongolia on a archeology dig and dug 900 1 meter by 1meter by 3 meter pitts in search of bronze age artifacts) Clearly I was working at the wrong site :)

Other sites visted include a lake, sand dunes and the only Mongolian temple dedicated to sky dieties. This building was pearched half way up a mountain, overlooking the ruins of another large monestary. The trip definatly peaked my anticipation for my future travels in Mongolia, begining in just two weeks!!!