“Conquering the world on horseback is easy; it is dismounting and governing that is hard.”
Amongst the many wonderful artifacts and sculptures which adorn the walls and premises of The Palace of the Great Khan the most popular attraction or all the visiting tourists is the famed silver fountain. As described by William of Rubruck, one of the Fransian Friar who travelled extensively throughout the Mongol state and its capital Khara Khorum in the year 1254, the fountain appeared similar to “a great silver tree, and at its roots are four lions of silver, each with a conduit through it, and all belching forth white milk of mares.” It was said that when the silver angel present at the very top of the great tree trumpeted, large amounts of beverages poured straight out through the pipes. It was one of delicacies which were wine, rice mead, clarified mare’s pure milk or even s honey drink, the choice was open to all.
The Khans were successful in conquering a large kingdom in a little time of few decades. Just like the nomadic origins form which the fierce warriors of his army came from, Genghis Khan – who had conquered large parts of central Asia using his brave and tough cavalry – was a nomad from his birth. In the year of 1206, when Genghis Khan claimed the throne most of the Mongolian tribes dwelled in humble huts, and they travelled all across the grasslands, migrating to feed their precious livestock. The Khans realized gradually with the growth of their empire they needed to set up a proper permanent administrative center which would help them to reign over their growing kingdom better. As described by the eminent teacher of Asian history at the Columbia University, Morris Rossabi, “They had to stop rampaging and start ruling.” As a result of this in the year of 1235, Genghis Khans son, known as Ogodei, initiated the construction of a grand city on the huge plains beside the large Orkhon River.
The producer of the brand new and well versed Genghis Khan exhibit which is touring US named Don Lessem described “It was as if you put Venice in Kansas.”
Though currently Khara Korum is buried under sand as well as scrubby vegetation, there has been lots of renewed interest about this place. A brand new book which was released called the “Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire,” describe all the major findings done by the archeologists have I the recent years. This book explained about the life people led in the city when the Mongols transformed from being raiders to being rulers.
A well-known archeologist William W. Fitzhugh said, “It wasn’t Cairo, but people compared it to European cities,”
“Nomads are not dogmatic,” an archeologist at the Yale University, Bill Honeychurch said, “They had the idea that you can learn from people you’ve brought into the fold.” From which Mongols formed their own culture. “They didn’t just adopt, they synthesized and acquired, and the end result was something unique and different.
It was also described that Khara Khorum was no longer an ideal city. “There wasn’t sufficient food or resources,” Rossabi said. Everyday supplies of five hundred fully filled carts of supplies entered the city to feed the growing population of the vast empire. The grandson of Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, in the end relocated the capital city to modern day Beijing while he also constructed a summer palace at Shangdu which was described as the “stately pleasure dome” of Samuel Coleridge widely acclaimed “Kubla Khan” poem.
“It is kind of amazing that they conceived of, or accepted, the idea of setting up a permanent structure,” As described by Rossabi, “If the Khans hadn’t moved toward having an administrative capital, the empire wouldn’t have succeeded so readily.”