On a barren hill in the wilderness of the Gobi Desert lies the small Mongolian town of Shivee Khuren. This town sports a border crossing with China, a small restaurant selling ‘desert food,’ which is basically whatever is caught escaping the Gobi and a 300-foot replica of the Trojan Horse made famous by the Trojans of ancient Greece.
The Trojan horse is an amazing feat of engineering and craftsmanship. It looks like the original, and is able to hold up to 50 fully-armed combat soldiers.
In 1974, a border dispute arose between Mongolia and China over duty taxes at the Shivee Khuren crossing. This was never reported, after all it’s a small insignificant border crossing in the middle of a huge desert that only 100 people use a month. What made matters worse was the intervention of the United Nations which decided the way to resolve the dispute was by moving the border fence 200 meters into Mongolia. Nigeria and Greece agreed this would be a good idea and when the UAE weighed in and mentioned human rights, Resolution 6969 was unanimously passed.
This posed two major problems for Mongolia; firstly it lost valuable land and secondly it lost possession of the Chilli Duck Neck shop which brought in valuable income to the economically-weak country.
As the military was put on alert for a proposed invasion, the region held its breath to see how this potentially-explosive situation would be resolved. The greatest military minds, like their counterparts in other countries looked to history for a solution to stealthily enter Chinese territory and take back what was rightfully theirs. Mongolia’s highest ranking commander Major-General Aварга Tом морь Tахиа proposed building a Trojan horse to smuggle Mongolian special forces into China. The horse was built but at the last moment a busload of school children arrived at the crossing and seeing the Trojan horse, ran towards it, surrounded it, mounted it and penetrated it.
One enterprising young Mongolian border guard rushed towards the horse and forced the children to pay for the pleasure of playing with the horse.
That evening the border guard counted the money and realized the day’s takings far exceeded that of the Chilli Duck Neck shop and all invasion plans were thus abandoned.
Today, the Trojan Horse attracts nearly 30 visitors a month which, since 1974, amounts to 15,120. Getting there is pretty simple. Take a flight to Beijing, then a connecting flight to Zhangye. From there you will be able to take a boat up the Heihe River. The river journey takes two weeks or you can take the 12-hour drive. After you have had your fill at the Chilli Duck Neck shop the border crossing into Mongolia takes another 72 hours. From Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar, take the airport road south and keep driving for 14 hours. If you get lost just ask for China or Trojan.
Tourists are reminded that under Mongolian law you must never touch another person’s hat, always use your right and if you are asked to shoot and cook a marmot it’s advisable to comply.