Merkit fortress is rock remains in the upper part of the ridge Tsagan-Daban, resembling a complex of fortifications, an archaeological monument, located an hour’s drive from the capital of Buryatia. Every year, tourists from all over the world come to this place to see the real Siberian apricots and learn more about the history of one of the strongest nations of Central Asia – Merkits. From the tops of the rocks there is a fascinating view of The Tugnyi valley, which holds a lot of unsolved mysteries and captivating legends.
1. This place has a mystical property – especially impressionable people can hear the sound of the battle of the Mongolian cavalry.
2. Flowering Siberian apricot, as well as cherry blossoms can be seen only for one week a year.
3. According to legend, a strong tribe of Central Asia – Merkits lived there.
4. Locals tried to transplant seedlings of the Siberian apricot to their gardens, but it wasn’t successful
In the area Khailasin in XI – XIII centuries, the tribal state of the Merkits was located. They have been one of the strongest Nations of Central Asia and were known for their courage. Their Khan Tohto-Becky lived in the area of the river Khilok and the Selenga.
One legend says that the leader of the Merkits, who had fought the Mongols for a long time, stole Genghis Khan’s beloved wife. Genghis Khan ordered the army to go to the valley of the river Khilok and destroy not only the army, but all the representatives of this people. The army of Genghis Khan was much bigger than the Merkit army, and the Merkit people were scattered throughout the districts and almost disappeared.
On the way to the fortress there is another attractive picture – a blossoming Apricot grove. The locals call it “debenski nut” – Siberian apricot. Fruits remind the real apricot, however it’s small, sour and firm as in the conditions of its growth it does not manage to ripen.
Every spring, in early may, tourists who know the secret of this place, go to Mukhorshibir district of Buryatia to enjoy the blossoming of the relict apricot grove and the spring freshness of The Tugnyi valley from the rocks of the Merkit fortress. During only from one to two weeks of the year, when the grove is in bloom, crowds of tourists gather there, dreaming to make a stunningly beautiful selfie on the background of white and pink flowers in rocky gorges…
The nature in the Buryat region is incredible! On the way to Merkit fortress, the landscape changes and the smell changes from fresh forest to the tart and strong aroma of the steppe.