The Religion

The purges during the communist era destroyed many of the monasteries and killed

a large number of the priests and monks. Much of the Erdene Zuu Monastery in

Kharkorin was spared, and many of the destroyed buildings are being rebuilt.



Mountain Monastery

This monastery is in the Terelj National Park near Ulan Bator.




Buddhism came to Mongolia from Tibet around the thirteenth century, at

the time of Genghis Khan.



Prayer Wheels

Prayer wheels like these contain many copies of mantras. When they are spun,

the prayers go off to heaven, bringing merit to the worshiper.




Decorative lions scare away evil spirits at this entrance to a Buddhist temple.




The art in the monasteries is in stark contrast to the barren surroundings outside.




They are a lot more colorful than the Japanese icons.




Buddhism  has  never  been able to completely supplant shamanism,  which is  native  to

Mongolia. Shaman priests are said to fly up into trees and speak in tongues when they

go into a trance. These decorations are part of a shamanistic ceremony.




Ovoos are large piles of rocks found along roads and on mountain passes, and

are considered shamanistic alters. When you encounter one, you should walk

around it three times and make an offering.



Star Wars East

Many of the Star Wars characters have their origin in Mongolia. This guy has

been around long before Steven Spielberg.



Little Monk

Historically the monasteries were the only educational institutions in Mongolia.

There are public schools now, but most boys will spend a least some time

in a monastery.