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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 20:54 GMT 21:54 UK
Mongolia glorifies Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Much of Genghis Khan's life remains a mystery
The people of Mongolia have been celebrating the 840th anniversary of the birth of Genghis Khan, the warrior-ruler whose armies established a vast empire in the 13th Century.

The anniversary was marked by the laying of a cornerstone for a giant memorial complex in the capital Ulan Bator.

The Genghis Khan memorial in the Park of Culture and Leisure is to consist of seven stone tents, standing on a rock pedestal.

Legends say the seven tents served as Genghis Khan's residence during his military campaigns.

The structure will be 99 metres wide and 60m high. A 20m statue of Genghis Khan will rise in the centre of it, flanked by sculptures of nine of his closest military leaders, the Russian news agency Itar-Tass reports.

'Man of millennium'

Various functions linked with the anniversary will go on throughout Mongolia until the end of the year.

They will include an art exhibition and wrestling competitions.

In a televised speech, President Natsagyin Bagabandi praised Genghis Khan as "the star of the Mongolian nation and man of the millennium".

The Mongol empire stretched from the borders of modern Vietnam to those of Hungary.

The Mongol Golden Horde was finally defeated by the Russian Prince Dmitriy Donskoy in 1380.

See also:

17 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
US scientists 'track Genghis Khan'
27 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Mongolia
04 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Timeline: Mongolia
28 Jul 00 | Asia
Women steppe out in Mongolia
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