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Amarbayasgalant monastery and sacred cultural landscape

Date of Submission: 01/08/1996
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Enlightenment
Coordinates: Selenge Aimag, Baruun Buren Sum
Ref.: 942
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Description

The complex of Amarbayasgalant Monastery was built during 1727-1736, in the honour of Under Gegeen Zanabazar, the first Bogd of Mongolia. It is situated in the cul-de-sac of a long, deep valley backed by the sheef cliff of Burenkhan Mountain against which the monastery is built. The valley is well-watered by the Evin River and has long been renown for its rich vegetation in this arid part of north central Asia. In particular thick groves of native Mongolian cherries have attracted people since prehistoric times until the present and are the reason for the association of this valley with theologies of fertility, re-birth and gardens of paradise. The valley is covered throughout its extent with Turkic-era graves of various geometric shapes marked out in large boulders. These important archaeological features which date from the 3rd-7th centuries are the indication that the valley has long-standing sacred associations for the people of Mongolia, associations which continued uninterupted into the Buddhist era when the were re-validated by the construction of Amarbayasgalant Monastery on this historic site. Originally, Amarbayasgalant Monastery consisted of over 40 temples built on the special terrace, surrounded by a wall, measuring 207x175 m. Only 28 temples now remain they have been under State protection since 1944. The monastery has a symmetrical construction. The size of its Tsogchin (Main) temple is 32x32 m. Its construction expresses the planning features of the Mongolian national architecture and engineering solutions are very original. One of the interesting solutions is routing of roof water through the inside of four columns, under the floor, through stone grooves and away from the Tsogchin temple.