Karakorum

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Karakorum

(kä'rəkō`rəm), ruined city, central Republic of Mongolia, near the Orkhon River, SW of Ulaanbaatar. The area around Karakorum had been inhabited by nomadic Turkic tribes from the 1st cent. A.D., but the city itself was not laid out until c.1220, when Jenghiz KhanJenghiz Khan
or Genghis Khan
, Mongolian Chinggis Khaan, 1167?–1227, Mongol conqueror, originally named Temujin. He succeeded his father, Yekusai, as chieftain of a Mongol tribe and then fought to become ruler of a Mongol confederacy.
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, founder of the Mongol empire, established his residence there. As capital of the MongolsMongols
, Asian people, numbering about 6 million and distributed mainly in the Republic of Mongolia, the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of China, and Kalmykia and the Buryat Republic of Russia.
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, Karakorum was visited (c.1247) by a papal mission under Giovanni CarpiniCarpini, Giovanni de Piano
, c.1180–1252, Italian traveler and Franciscan monk, b. Pian del Carpini (now Piano della Magione), Umbria. He was a companion of St. Francis of Assisi and spread Franciscan teachings in Germany and Spain.
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. The city was abandoned (and later destroyed) after Kublai KhanKublai Khan
, 1215–94, Mongol emperor, founder of the Yüan dynasty of China. From 1251 to 1259 he led military campaigns in S China. He succeeded (1260) his brother Mongke (Mangu) as khan of the empire that their grandfather Jenghiz Khan had founded.
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, grandson of Jenghiz, transferred (1267) the Mongol capital to Khanbaliq (modern Beijing). The noted Lamaist monastery of Erdeni Dzu was built near Karakorum in 1586. The ruins of the ancient Mongol city were discovered in 1889 by N. M. Yadrinstev, a Russian explorer, who also uncovered the Orkhon Inscriptions (see OrkhonOrkhon
, river, c.300 mi (480 km) long, rising in the Khangai Mts., N central Republic of Mongolia, and flowing east, then north, past the site of ancient Karakorum, and then northeast to join the Selenga River just S of the Russian border.
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). Karakorum is also the name of a nearby site, which in the 8th and 9th cent. was the capital of the UigursUigurs,
 Uighurs,
or Uygurs
, Turkic-speaking people of Asia who live mainly in W China. They were the Yue-che of ancient Chinese records and first rose to prominence in the 7th cent. when they supported the T'ang Chinese in central Asia.
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.

Karakorum

or

Karakoram,

mountain range, extending c.300 mi (480 km), between the Indus and Yarkant rivers, N Kashmir, S central Asia; SE extension of the Hindu KushHindu Kush
, a high mountain system, extending c.500 mi (800 km) W from the Pamir Knot, N Pakistan, into NE Afghanistan; rising to 25,236 ft (7,692 m) in Tirich Mir, on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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. It covers disputed territory, held by China on the north, India on the east, and Pakistan on the west. Karakorum's main range has some of the world's highest peaks, including K2K2
or Mount Godwin-Austen,
peak, 28,251 ft (8,611 m) high, in the Karakorum range, N Kashmir, on the China-Pakistan border; second highest peak in the world. It was discovered and measured by the Survey of India in 1856, and first named for English topographer Henry
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 (Mt. Godwin-Austen; 28,250 ft/8,611 m), the second highest peak in the world. Karakorum also has several of the world's largest glaciers. Its southern slopes are the watershed for many tributaries of the IndusIndus
, chief river of Pakistan, c.1,900 mi (3,060 km) long, rising in the Kailas range in the Tibetan Himalayas, and flowing W across Jammu and Kashmir, India, then SW through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea SE of Karachi.
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. The mountains, the greatest barrier between India and central Asia, are crossed above the perpetual snow line by two natural routes. Karakorum Pass (alt. 18,290 ft/5,575 m), the chief pass, is on the main Kashmir-China route. Another important pass, Khunjerab (Kunjirap) Pass (alt. 15,420 ft/4,700 m), is on the Pakistan-China route.

Karakorum

 

(Mongolian, Khara-Khorin), capital of the ancient Mongolian empire. Founded by Genghis Khan in 1220, the city existed until the 16th century. Its ruins are located on the upper Orkhon River. Information about Karakorum is contained in Chinese chronicles and the notes of the 13th-century European travelers Giovanni de Piano Carpini, Marco Polo, and Guillaume Rubruquis. The Russian scholar N. M. Iadrintsev investigated the ruins of Karakorum in the late 19th century. By analyzing historical sources, A. M. Pozdneev confirmed the city’s location at the Buddhist monastery of Erdeni Dzuu (built in 1585 in the southern part of Karakorum). In 1948–49 a joint Soviet-Mongolian expedition, under the direction of S. V. Kiselev, conducted excavations at Karakorum. The remains of the palace of Ugedei, which was built on a granite foundation, were discovered in the southwestern part of the city. The remains of a Buddhist shrine with wall paintings, dating from the late 12th century or early 13th century, were discovered. The trade and artisan quarters and other objects were investigated in the central part of the city. Plowed fields irrigated by canals were located to the east of the city.

REFERENCES

Atlas drevnostei Mongolii, fasc. 1. St. Petersburg, 1899.
Pozdneev, A. Mongoliia i mongoly, vols. 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1896–98.
Iadrintsev, N. M. “Puteshestvie na verkhov’ia Orkhona k razvalinam Karakoruma.” Izvestiia russkogo geograficheskogo obshchestva, 1890, vol. 26, issue 4.
Drevnemongol’skie goroda. Moscow, 1965.

L. A. EVTIUKHOVA

Karakorum

a ruined city in Mongolia: founded in 1220 by Ghenghis Khan; destroyed by Kublai Khan when his brother rebelled against him, after Kublai Khan had moved his capital to Peking (now Beijing)