National Geographic : 1962 Mar
Trucks of the desert, two-humped Bactrian cam els raise silhouetted heads against the setting Gobi sun. Bactrians endure cold that would kill the sin gle-humped dromedaries of Araby. Lonely Stone Tortoise Marks the Site of Karakorum, Genghis Khan's Capital Here in the 1200's stood a bustling market town. Chinese and Persian traders and craftsmen thronged Karakorum's busy streets, but the great khans' warriors disdainfully pitched their gers outside the mud-brick walls. Karakorum flourished for only half a century. In 1260 Kublai Khan, Genghis's grandson, moved his capital to Peking, where Mongol austerity van ished amid luxuries. In 1382 a conquering Chinese army ground Karakorum into dust, and men for got where the city had stood. Excavators verified its identity only in 1946. Distant stupas, memorials to sanctified lamas, rose beside the ruins in 1586. Erdeni Dzuu lama sery stands untenanted save by a caretaker. An antireligious drive in 1937 scattered the monks. Manchu overlords fostered Lamaism in Mongo 306 lia to turn chronic raiders into pacific monks.