Every spring in early May, informed tourists travel to Tarbagataisky district of Buryatia to admire the fleeting flowering of a relic apricot grove and the spring beauty of the Tugnui valley from the cliffs of a natural historical monument - the Merkit fortress.
At the end of the XII - the beginning of the XIII century the state of the Merkits spread on the territory of modern southern Buryatia, which was one of the strongest states of Central Asia and was famous for its militancy. The headquarters of their Khan Tokhto-Beki was somewhere in the area of the Khilok and Selenga rivers.
Merkits have long fought with their Mongol neighbors.
One legend says that many centuries ago the leader of the Merkit people stole the beloved wife from Genghis Khan. Naturally, it was impossible to forgive such insolence, and Genghis Khan ordered his army to advance to the valley of the Khilok River to defeat the Merkit army and destroy all representatives of those people.
The dreaded people were scattered along the uluses of Mongolia and practically disappeared. Today, in the Khilok river valley, at first glance, nothing reminds of the events of many centuries ago.
However, when the locals begin to tell the legends and traditions associated with Genghis Khan, looking at the surrounding monuments of nature and history, inevitably you come to believe that the battles between the Mongols and Merkits once took place here. It is known that the stony cliffs, rocks, and caves of the Merkits were once used as a fortress in the war with Genghis Khan.