Palace of Genghis Khan’s grandson found in Anatolia

(ORDO NEWS) — The first excavations of Mongolian researchers outside their country brought very impressive results: they discovered the place where Khan Hulagu lived.

Turkish and Mongolian archaeologists conducted archaeological research in the province of Van (Turkey).

The excavations began after scientists from the Department of History of the Mongolian State University discovered in ancient Persian and Armenian sources information about the location of the summer palace of Hulagu Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan. The events described in the sources took place in the XIII century.

After that, the researchers analyzed some of the artifacts now in the collection of the Van Museum, and came to the conclusion that these are samples of Mongolian ceramics and Mongolian tiles – they were compared with the finds in Karakorum, the capital of the Mongol Empire in 1220-1260.

Combining information from medieval texts and data on the places of finds, archaeologists began to work in the field.

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Relief depicting a Mongol warrior from the collection of the Van Museum (Turkey)

As a result, they found the remains of a caravanserai and a ceramic oven, which, in their opinion, belong to the period of the Hulaguid (Ilkhanid) state.

Hulagu was one of the most talented Mongol commanders of his time. He led the so-called Middle Eastern campaign of the Mongols against the Iranian Nizari (they are the Assassins from Alamut Castle), the Abbasid (Baghdad) Caliphate and the Ayyubid Sultanate (Egypt and Western Asia). All these states fell, in their place Hulagu founded his own.

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Tiles from the palace of Chingizids, found at the excavations of the Selitrennoye settlement

The aggressive policy of the empire of Genghis Khan did not change after his death. The Middle East was in the plans. But for some reason, his hands did not reach him for a long time.

Some historians suggest that Hulagu, the son of the founder of the state, Yuan Kublai, delayed the start of the Middle East campaign for a long time, because Ulus Jochi (Golden Horde) was located to the north of the route of his troops.

And only after the death of Batu (this happened in 1255), having replenished his ranks with soldiers from the Ulus of Jochi, he went on a campaign in 1256.

Persian historians Rashid ad-Din and Juvaini wrote that the number of Hulagu’s troops was 70 thousand people.

These data are confirmed by the Armenian historian Grigor Aknertsi. All sources are almost contemporaries of the events, they belong to the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century.

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Tiles from the palace of Chingizids, found at the excavations of the Selitrennoye settlement

Most likely, Hulagu was a Buddhist – by the way, archaeologists suggest that there should have been a Buddhist temple next to the found caravanserai and the palace.

But the eldest wife of the khan was a Christian and the patroness of Christians. There is mention in the sources that Hulagu built a temple for her, which archaeologists also hope to find.

Contrary to common beliefs, even nomads were Christians in those days – for example, the Naimans, who became allies of Hulagu. Hetum I, the king of Cilician Armenia, also concluded a military alliance with the Mongol khan.

Historians Lev Gumilyov and Rene Grousset called this military campaign of Genghisides the Yellow Crusade – precisely because of the participation of Christians.

By the way, its beginning almost coincided with the end of the Seventh Crusade, which was extremely unsuccessful for Christians: the Muslims defeated the crusaders and captured the King of France, Louis IX (he had to be redeemed for a lot of money).

Hulagu turned out to be more successful and talented than the king of France, and, according to a number of historians, only the death of the great Khan Mongke (the fourth khan of the Genghisid empire) in 1260 forced him to stop the campaign (to Egypt) and settle in Iran.

After the death of the great khan, showdowns between relatives usually began – which Hulagu feared. And not in vain: literally two years later, the mutual claims of the Golden Horde and the Khulaguids led to hostilities.

Today, the ruins of either three or four palaces of the Mongol khans have been found. These are the palace of Kublai Khan in Inner Mongolia (PRC), the summer palace of Ambagai Khan in Iran, and the so-called Old Sarai, also known as Sarai-Batu, the capital of the Golden Horde.

The remains of the latter are located on the Selitrennoye settlement in the Astrakhan region. Up the Volga, on the Tsarevsky settlement in the Volgograd region, according to some historians, there was a New Sarai, or Sarai-Berke, which became the capital of the Horde in the XIV century.

Some time ago, a number of articles were published, where the hypothesis is advanced that the alleged Sarai-Berke could not be the capital of the Golden Horde – for the reason that there are no finds of coins of the XIV century at the excavation site.

The hypothesis does not look quite convincing, since Tsarevo settlement is located in a place that has always been very populated. And the archaeologists who worked there repeatedly noted traces of looting – and very old ones.

However, the presence or absence of coins in the Tsar’s settlement does not contradict the theory that Sarai-Berke (or Sarai Al-Dzhedid, New Sarai) is just a new name for the city on the Selitrennoye settlement, and there was another city up the Volga, not the capital.


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