Erdene Zuu Monastery Museum

Name: Erdene Zuu Monastery Museum

Location: Karakorum, Mongolia

Reason to Visit: The first Lama Temple in Mongolia, a splendid monastery listed by UNESCO World Heritage Site

Duration: 1-2 hours

Our Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆


Erdene Zuu Monastery


Erdene Zuu Monastery is located in Karakorum, Mongolia, which was built in 1586. With the history of more than 400 years, Erdene Zuu Monastery is the first and the largest Lama Temple in Mongolia. It is a building of Gelukpa of Tibetan Buddhism. And it was the Buddhist center of Mongolia at that time. Built in 1586, the Erdene Zuu Monastery was destroyed in 1680s. It was rebuilt twice later. The construction materials of building the Erdene Zuu Monastery was from Karakorum ruins. There are 108 white pagodas surrounds the Erdene Zuu Monastery, which are splendid. In 1965, it became the Erdene Zuu Monastery Museum. And in 2004, Erdene Zuu Monastery Museum was listed into the UNESCO World Heritage List.


In this article you will know about:



The History of Erdene Zuu Monastery Museum

In 1938, influenced by the policy of Stalin, Erdene Zuu Monastery Museum suffered destructive damage. Most parts of the monastery were bombed, and the temple halls were closed. What’s worse, the lamas in the temple were killed or exiled. At that time, tens of thousands of lamas were forced to return to the secular life. Some of them escaped to China, some were exiled to Siberia.


This unprecedented political catastrophe almost wiped out the historical and cultural heritage of Mongolia. However, some brave lamas and herdsmen risked their lives to protect the paintings, sculptures and scriptures in the monastery and hide them on the caves or remote regions. When they regained freedom, these the historical and cultural heritage of Mongolia was re-displayed to the public of Mongolians.


Erdene Zuu Monastery



Splendid 108 White Pagodas

The Erdene Zuu Monastery Museum covers an area of 160,000 square meters. It is similar to a square with about 400 meters long and wide. There are totally 108 white pagodas on the high walls of the 4 sides. 108 white pagodas represent 108 arhats. You can’t imagine how splendid and holy it is to have 108 white pagodas on the walls of a monastery.


Erdene Zuu Monastery


The distance between each pagoda is about 15 meters. And each pagoda memorizes an important historical event. Some pagodas were the bombs of political leaders, living Buddhas or the head lama.


Erdene Zuu Monastery



Combination of the Several Architecture Styles

The building materials include the bricks, stones and the sculptures. The architecture styles of the Erdene Zuu Monastery Museum integrate Mongolia, Tibet and China’s architecture styles.


You can experience the carefulness of the craftsmen when visiting the things in the monastery. And the things in the monastery are very exquisite. The Erdene Zuu Monastery Museum is worth visiting.


Erdene Zuu Monastery



Rich and Rare Collections

The Erdene Zuu Monastery Museum preserves many rare and precious historical relics from 15th to 17th century, which include a large number of precious manuscripts, wooden books, inscriptions. The historical relics are extremely valuable in visiting. There are also paintings, decorations and embroideries in the monastery.


Taking photos in the monastery is not permitted. But the staff in the museum will explain meticulously to help you know the monastery and the relics. The annotations in the monastery are in Mongolian, English and Japanese.


Erdene Zuu Monastery



Travel Tips

  • It is hot and dry in summer, please protect yourself from the sunshine and moisturize your skin. And drink enough water to replenish moisture.
  • As typical continental climate, there is quite a range of temperature between day and night in Mongolia, so please prepare suitable clothes according to the weather report before your trip.
  • Taking photos is not permitted in the monastery, please obey the rules of the museum.

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