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Mongolia
.    Setting Out
.    Sainshand
.    The Desert
.   .    Animals
.   .    Hamryn Hiid
.   .    Petrified Trees
.   .    Caves
.   .    Dinosaurs
.   .    Dunes
.   .    Saxaul
.   .    Home again
.    Leaving

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Hamryn Hiid

From the animals we drove for about an hour. Over the last few minutes the landscape changed from flat to some low hills, and as we came around the last we saw two monastaries rebuilt at Hamryn Hiid. They were originally built in 1820 at an oasis with 108 trees, and at their high point had more than 500 monks and a prosperous town, including Mongolia's first theater. When the Soviets came in in 1937 they slaughtered the monks, destroyed the town, melted down all the gold to ship off to Moscow, and burnt everything else. Some more can be read in this NY Times article, or in this Mongolia Today issue. They are currently trying to raise funds to continue the rebuilding.

There are 2 buildings here, one for the Red Hat Buddhists and one for the Yellow Hats. The head monk explained to us (through our interpreter) the history of the place, and invited us in to show us around. After showing us the temples, he brought in another few monks, and they chanted prayers that we would have a smooth trip.

We ate lunch, provided by our hotel, in the monastary classroom. Afterwards the leftovers were fed to some of the dogs around there. One of them, nicknamed "Lucky Sugar", followed us through the desert to our next several locations. Each time the cars would stop, the teachers would get out and go one way to the attraction, and the children would pile the other way to greet Lucky Sugar as he came panting up the road.


Detail from Red Hat Monastary

The whole class

2 very dirty kids

The guide monk and Dr. Woods

Site of the old theater
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