About the project
Karakorum (in Mogolia) lies approximately 320 km west to the capital Ulaan Baatar and was a medieval city, that is newly excavated since 2000 by a German-Mongolian joint mission. The excavation is focused on a terrace, on which a ‘Great Hall’ was constructed. After evaluating the archaeological record, it is believed that the ‘Great Hall’ was in fact a Buddhist temple. On basis of the wall paintings as well as the architectural sculptures, a dating between the 12th and the 14th century is probable. The structure is one-phased, but features several restorations and alterations of unknown dimensions.
Influences of Tibetan architecture is found in the ground plan of the central temple, that was built after the principle of a Mandala. The ground plan has a square form and is structured by the inner layout of the temple. The centre of the structure was emphasized by the erection of a stupa. The overall orientation of the terrace as well as the building to the four cardinal points in the North, East, South and West support the interpretation as a building with religious function even further.
The reconstruction was visualised with an animation to be able to explain the complicated composition of the terrace as well as the ‘Great Hall’, that shows influences of Chinese and Tibetan architecture. Especially the accurate realisation of the archaeological documented results, that was given by the excavators, was important to us. The animation will be displayed in a nearby museum. Therefore, the translation of the explaining texts into Mongolian is self-explanatory. For a better understanding, the animation is divided into four parts: Location of the site, archaeological record, modern superstructure for preservation and the reconstruction of the ‘Great Hall’ itself.
- Franken, C. 2015: Die “Grosse Halle” von Karakorum. Zur archäologischen Untersuchung des ersten buddhistischen Tempels der alten mongolischen Hauptstadt, Forschungen zur Archäologie Außereuropäischer Kulturen 12, Wiesbaden.
- Franken, C. 2019: “Karakorum”, in: ANTIKE WELT Jubiläumsheft “Auferstehung der Antike. Archäologische Stätten digital rekonstruiert”, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft: Darmstadt, 120-121.