2018 marked the beginning of a new research and training project for the CRAST, following the ratification of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Karakorum Museum and the Ulaanbaatar State University, signed in Kharkhorin (Mongolia) on the 20th of August 2018. The activities promoted and carried out by the CRAST in Mongolia take place within the framework of this Cooperation Agreement between Turin and Kharkhorin.

Karakorum 2020. A community Project

enhancement of the Kharkhorin historical and archaeological heritage
area of Kharkhorin
Roberta Menegazzi

The city of Kharkhorin, in the province of Övörkhangai, is located in an area of ​​great historical and archaeological interest: Karakorum, the capital of the Mongolian Empire founded by Genghis Khan in 1220 and occupied until the end of the fourteenth century is situated right on the northern edge of the modern settlement. Moreover, the Buddhist monastery of Erdene Zuu, one of the largest in Mongolia, is located to the south of the ancient capital. This monastery was founded in 1585-86 in a place that is thought to have been previously occupied by the Khan’s imperial palace.

Recently, the site of Karakorum has been investigated by a German-Mongolian expedition that, in addition to exploring different sectors of the city and some production areas outside the city walls, carried out surface surveys in the middle and upper Orkhon River valley. The team is currently working on the excavation of Karabalgasun, the capital of the Uyghur empire located about thirty kilometers to the northwest of Kharkhorin.

The Karakorum Museum is not far from the archaeological site and it conveys an effective picture of the historical development of the region while exhibiting several artefacts retrieved during the excavations of the ancient capital of the Mongolian empire and during the investigations conducted on the neighbouring sites. The Erdene Zuu monastery is provided with a museum as well; both Buddhist artefacts and stone fragments originally belonging to the architectural decoration of Karakorum are displayed here.

In approaching such a complex reality, so rich from the historical and archaeological point of view and with so many important institutions involved, the CRAST project aims at enhancing the extraordinary historical and archaeological heritage of the region through a series of activities focused on supporting the local museums as well as disseminating the results of the archaeological research within the local community.

As agreed between the Mongolian authorities and the CRAST, the first activity foreseen by the project is designed to bring the younger audience closer to the collections of the Karakorum Museum through the scheduling of a series of educational workshops offered to the local schools. The theoretical and practical training session held in August 2018 at the Karakorum Museum – focused on clay processing and molding - was connected to the first of these educational workshops. The course saw the participation of an archaeologist of the CRAST and a sculptor/ceramist from the Mondovì Pottery Museum as trainers along with museum employees, teachers and social workers from the Kharkhorin schools and Unesco local representatives.

For further information on the activities of the German-Mongolian expedition visit the following websites:

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