Thursday, April 20, 2006

Mongolia | Arkhangai Aimag | Kultegin Monument

Kultegin Monument
The monument to the Turk khan Kultegin is located in Arkhangai Aimag at N47º33.841 - E102º 49.914. Kultegin was born in 684 and died in 731 at the age of 47. The monument, constructed in 732, a year after Kultegin’s death, is 10.9 feet high, 4.3 feet wide, and 1.5 feet thick. There are a total of 68 lines of Turkish inscriptions on three sides of the monument and on the front there are some Chinese (or perhaps Khitan) inscriptions which were carved into the monument later. The Turkish inscriptions are among the oldest known examples of Turkish writing (also see the Monument to Tonyukuk). They were finally translated in the twentieth century by Russian linguist V. V. Radlov.

Part of the inscription says, “he [Kultegin] did not sleep nights and did not rest days for the strengthening [of] the state, supporting the khagan’s power, making the poor rich and the orphans not lonely.”

The inscription continues with a warning about the Chinese to the south, with whom the Turks were constantly struggling:
“The enticements of the Chinese people, who without exertion give us so much gold, so much silver, so much silk, are sweet indeed, and their riches enervating. By these sweet enticements and their wealth, the Chinese drew the Turkic people to them. Through yielding to the lure, many of your folk died, O Turkic people!”
“If you go into that country [China], O Turkic people, you will perish! But if you remain in the forest of Ötükän [probably the Khangai Mountains], where there are neither riches nor cares, you will preserve an everlasting empire, O Turkic people! . . . All that I have to tell you I have written on enduring rock.”
Turk Statue near the Kultegin Monument
More Turk Statues near the Kultegin Monument
Another Turk StatueAnother view of Kultegin's Monument