It wouldn't be Mongolia without a Genghis Khan reference....
This statue is in the record books as the world's largest equestrian statue in his likeness, and it is BIG....
We took an elevator up to find we needed to climb two more flights of stairs, so that we could walk out on the viewing deck where we stood on the horse's mane, and gaze up at the massiveness of his likeness.
Kahn and his horse stand 131 feet tall atop a 33-foot tall coliseum with 36 columns.
It is standing 50 km outside of the Mongolian capital of Ullanbaatar, on the bank of the Tuul River at Tsonjin Boldog where legend says that Genghis, in going after his first wife who was kidnapped by a neighboring tribe, found a horse whip, a symbol of good omen. This statue commentates that moment.
The statue symbolically faces East, in the direction of the birthplace of Temujin, (which is Genghis's birth name. He was later granted the title Chingis Khan, most commonly referred to as "Supreme Ruler" Chingis is Genghis's name as it is spelled and known in Mongolia) -
Genghis was born in the middle of the twelfth century in Delüün Boldog close to Burkhan Khaldun mountain and the Onon and Kherlen rivers which are in contemporary northern Mongolia. The statue symbolically points east - towards his birthplace.
Between 1206 and his death in 1227, the Mongol leader Genghis Khan conquered nearly 12 million square miles of territory—more than any individual in history.
And this was from rough beginnings.
Rival Tatars poisoned his father when he was only nine, and his own tribe later expelled his family and left his mother to raise her seven children alone.
Genghis grew up hunting and foraging to survive, and as an adolescent it is thought that he murdered his half brother in a dispute over food.
During his teenage years, rival clans abducted both he and his young wife, and Genghis spent time as a slave before making a daring escape.
Despite all these hardships, by his early 20s he had established himself as a formidable warrior and leader.
After amassing an army of supporters, he began forging alliances with the heads of important tribes. By 1206, he had successfully consolidated the steppe confederations under his banner and began to turn his attention to outside conquest.
Historians feel that he was responsible for the deaths of as many as 40 million people. All told, the Mongols’ attacks may have reduced the entire world population by as much as 11 percent, shown from censuses in China, where the population decreased by tens of millions.
This being said, he promoted freedom of religion in the territories he conquered, and also granted tax exemptions to places of worship.
While Genghis is said to have honored the shamanistic belief system that reveres the spirits of the sky, winds and mountains - the people who lived in the Steppes peoples were diverse in their beliefs - and Nestorian Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and other animistic traditions were practiced at the time.
Genghis had a personal interest in spirituality. It is said that he prayed in his tent for multiple days before important campaigns. He also explored other religious beliefs by meeting with different religious leaders to discuss the details of their faith. In his old age, it is said that he invited the Taoist leader Qiu Chuji to his camp, and the pair had conversations concerning immortality and philosophy.
Genghis Khan, a historical figure has gained my attention and interest. To achieve what he achieved in his life time is an impressive feat.