The construction of the monastery of Erdene Zuu started in 1586 but it was finished 300 years later. In the 19th century more than 1,000 monks were living in the complex that now had 62 temples within its walls. In 1939 the majority of the Mongolian monasteries was demolished by order of the communist leader Khorloogiin Choibalsan. The monks were persecuted on a large scale. The Erdene Zuu was underway. Only a few buildings along the outer wall were spared. Since 1990, the complex was again used as a monastery.