Tsenkheriin Agui

Top choice in Western Mongolia

This huge cave looks deceptively small from the parking area. But once you scramble up the loose rock path, you realise its true size and how it must have afforded considerable shelter to the prehistoric humans who lived here.

Unfortunately, the Palaeolithic art (c 13,000 BC) has inspired others, with recent graffiti (c AD 2001) destroying much of it. In 2005 the area was incorporated into the Khar Us Nuur National Park, and some of the paintings ‘restored’.

To explore the cave you will need a strong torch and whatever kind of footwear you feel copes well with the dusty bird poo that blankets parts of the cave floor.

The paintings are very difficult to spot. There seem to be far fewer than the tourism spiel promotes, and we couldn't find the famed woolly mammoth paintings. The easiest to find are some antelope and bird paintings in the first cavern to your left as you descend the path into the main cave: most of them are found within a small conical recess here. Beside this, you can squeeze through a hole in the wall to see more animal figures.

Exiting the main cave, you can turn left and climb slightly higher to find the entrance to another, deeper cave, although it does not contain paintings.

The cave is about 100km southeast of Khovd City.

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