It appears to be pretty evident that today's Mongolia has very little to do with the ancient Tartary. IMHO, the only common thing they share is the territory. Mongolia occupies a small portion of what was a global empire. Well, may be there was such an empire, for the narrative compliant history says no such thing. Officially, The area of what is now Mongolia has been ruled by various nomadic empires, including the Xiongnu, the Xianbei, the Rouran, the First Turkic Khaganate, and others. There is not a word about Tartary here.
As far as independent researchers go, some believe that Tartary existed, and some do not. Collecting evidence is all we can do, it seems. I believe the below excerpt could be added to the collection of bits and pieces pointing towards the existence of Tartary.
- An Inquiry Into the Credibility of the Early Roman History, Volume 1
- Huc's Travels in Tartary during 1844-46.
- Évariste Régis Huc - Wikipedia
Notice that even in 1840s locals had no clue about the mentioned ruins. The above - "abandoned cities of Tartary" - information does not really jive with the nomadic life style historically attributed to this territory. I searched the Huc's Travels book for the word "ruins". Here is what we have to supplement the above cutout:
- You often, in these parts of Tartary, meet with the remains of great towns, and the ruins of fortresses, very nearly resembling those of the middle ages in Europe, and, upon turning up the soil in these places, it is not unusual to find lances, arrows, portions of farming implements, and urns filled with Corean money.
- On the third day we came, in the solitude, upon an imposing and majestic monument of antiquity,—a large city utterly abandoned. Its turreted ramparts, its watch towers, its four great gates, facing the four cardinal points, were all there perfect, in preservation, except that, besides being three-fourths buried in the soil, they were covered with a thick coating of turf. Arrived opposite the southern gate, we directed Samdadchiemba to proceed quietly with the animals, while we paid a visit to the Old Town, as the Tartars designate it. Our impression, as we entered the vast enclosure, was one of mingled awe and sadness. There were no ruins of any sort to be seen, but only the outline of a large and fine town, becoming absorbed below by gradual accumulations of wind-borne soil, and above by a winding-sheet of turf. The arrangement of the streets and the position of the principal edifices, were indicated by the inequalities of ground. The only living things we found here were a young Mongol shepherd, silently smoking his pipe, and the flock of goats he tended. We questioned the former as to when the city was built, by whom, when abandoned, and why? We might as well have interrogated his goats; he knew no more than that the place was called the Old Town.
- Such remains of ancient cities are of no unfrequent occurrence in the deserts of Mongolia; but everything connected with their origin and history is buried in darkness. Oh, with what sadness does such a spectacle fill the soul! The ruins of Greece, the superb remains of Egypt, - all these, it is true, tell of death; all belong to the past; yet when you gaze upon them, you know what they are; you can retrace, in memory, the revolutions which have occasioned the ruins and the decay of the country around them. Descend into the tomb, wherein was buried alive the city of Herculaneum, - you find there, it is true, a gigantic skeleton, but you have within you historical associations wherewith to galvanize it. But of these old abandoned cities of Tartary, not a tradition remains; they are tombs without an epitaph, amid solitude and silence, uninterrupted except when the wandering Tartars halt, for a while, within the ruined enclosures, because there the pastures are richer and more abundant.
- When exactly did nomadic tribes start building cities?
Even today, in the 21st century, 30% of the population is nomadic or semi-nomadic.
What is Mongolia today? I'm pretty sure it's a lot of things but for the purposes of this article the below paragraph summarizes the gist.
- At 1,564,116 square kilometres (603,909 sq mi), Mongolia is the 18th-largest and the most sparsely populated sovereign state in the world, with a population of over 3.3 million people. It is also the world's second-largest landlocked country, behind Kazakhstan, and the largest landlocked country that does not border a closed sea. The country contains very little arable land, as much of its area is covered by grassy steppe, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south. Ulaanbaatar, the capital and largest city, is home to about 45% of the country's population.
- Summary: 18th largest by size and 136th largest by population with almost half of the country residing in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. It has very little arable land.
The same area as depicted on the Fra Mauro's map dated with 1450 looks something like this. It's hard to figure out the exact location of the contemporary Mongolia on this map, but I think it was in the vicinity of Serica. May be slightly north of it.
The same area portrayed on the 1587 Urbano Monte's map shows the following.
There are tons of different older maps of Asia showing cities and towns in the area. Unfortunately, their existence on the maps does not explain when and who built them. Relying on the conventional historians is not an option, as far as "who" and "when" goes.
Existing RuinsIt's been close to 175 years since Évariste Régis Huc traveled to the area formerly occupied by Tartary. Who knows if the ruins he was talking about are still around today.
Looking for the Mongolian ruins we, for the most part, run into the so-called Karakorum ruins. Whether these really belong to the former "base camp" of Genghis Khan is unknown. in my opinion. There is plenty of evidence that city names were getting switched around left and right. Our science corp says that this is Karakorum.
To be honest, I do not even know what photographs of the Karakorum ruins to place here, because I am not sure what I'm seeing there. Yet, this one deserves our attention:
- Like many cities in Mongolia, Karakorum started life as a nomadic camp - and a nomadic city leaves few ruins behind. In fact, of the old city, only a stone tortoise remains.
And want to convince us that on top of the stone pillars were meant to support this reconstructed structure: The Great Hall of Karakorum (Mongolia)
By the way, this here is Kublai Khan giving financial support to Marco Polo. For looks and sizes...
Outside of Karakorum we can find some decently looking ruins, but those will always be either stupas, pagodas, fortresses, temples, or palaces. They will never call those factories, power stations or universities. Meanwhile 30% of the Mongolians live in yurts today.
Of course we need to remember that Tartaria, in all its vastness, was formerly known as Scythia, or so the old map says.
And Scythians are attributed with some marvelous achievements: Scythian gold craftsmanship, where did it come from?
KD: Well, this is the history we have. As far as the ancient city of Karakorum goes, it's probably not that hard to find where to dig. As with everything else, UNESCO tells us where excavations are not permitted:
- Kharkhorin is located at the lower end of the upper valley of the Orkhon River which is included within UNESCO's World Heritage Site Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape. The location marks the easternmost foothills of the Khangai Mountains, where they meet the rolling steppe of central Mongolia.
- No digging: Orkhon Valley - Wikipedia
Tartary - an Empire hidden in history. It was bigger than Russia once...