Here is something interesting to see if you’re ever in Tuva. From the Siberian Times:
Mysterious mountain palace, one of the wonders of Siberia, was built in 777 AD
By Anna Liesowska
Breathtaking island complex close to Mongolian border rumoured to have been built for tragic Chinese princess.
New scientific findings have pin-pointed the date of the construction of stunning Por-Bajin in Lake Tere-Khol some 2,300 metres above sea level.
It was designed only for summer living between the magnificent Sayan and Altai ranges but in fact was never occupied.
Its purpose and inspiration have long perplexed experts, and it has amazed almost everyone who has ever ventured here to the very centre point of Eurasia.
As President Vladimir Putin said: ‘I have been to many places, I have seen many things. But I have never seen anything of the kind.’
Now, though, Por-Bajin has given up one key secret.
Research by the University of Groningen using a special carbon-14 dating technique has now established it was built in 777 AD, two decades later than the previous best guesses.
‘In the complex, the scientists found a beam with a spike from the year 775. As they were able to ascertain that the tree was felled two years later, the complex must have been constructed in 777,’ says a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The findings likely undermine the romantic theory that this was a royal summer home, as espoused by local academic Demir Tulush, of Tuva Institute of Humanities and Social and Economic Research.
He had suggested the version that it could be have been a ‘summer palace built for a Kha Khan’s wife’, possibly the spouse or intended partner of Byogyu-kagan, son of Boyan-Chor.
‘It is known that Chinese princesses could become the wives of Uighur and Turk Kha Khans,’ he explained.
‘Probably, one such princess was destined to live in this palace, but something happened to her on the way here, and she never came to the site. It was totally abandoned in 30 or 40 years.’
More at the link, including lots of images. I reprint the one at Wikipedia:
“Aerial view of site of Por-Bazhyn taken from a microlight plane before start of excavation season 2007.”