The Forbidden Tomb of Genghis Khan

Given the name Temujin at birth, Genghis khan went on to unite disparate nomadic tribes to establish the Mongol Empire, winning himself a reputation as one of history’s most feared warriors in the process. In accordance with his wishes, he was buried in the utmost secrecy: the  location of his tomb remains one of history’s enduring conundrums, despite numerous attempts for finding it.

Temujin was in his mid-40s by the time he became the leader of the Mongols in the early 13th century. During his reign, he laid the foundations for a vast empire that would eventually stretch from china to Hungary, taking a title, Genghis Khan, that struck fear into hearts of both subjects and rivals. But he was more than a bloodthirsty tyrant, introducing a written language system.

He died in 1227, aged around 65. The exact cause of his death is disputed, with explanation ranging from riding accident to illness. Regardless, it was his wish to be buried in secret in accordance with tribal custom, his testing place to remain unmarked. To this end, extraordinary and infamous precautions were undertaken. Legend has it that members of his funeral escort slaughtered any person unfortunate enough to stray across their path. The slaves who built the tomb were murdered once it was completed so that they could not divulge its location, and the soldiers who killed them were in turn dispatched. It is said that the ground was then trampled by horses, planted with trees and even had a river diverted over it to hide the tomb entrance.

Debate ranges as to the location of the emperor’s body. Many believe that it is probably in Mongolia’s Khentii Province, perhaps close to the sacred Burkhan Kaldun mountain where Temujin was born. In 2004, an archaeological team claimed to have found his long-last palace in this region, which many experts assume would have been close to his final resting place.

Yet the grave remains elusive and that is no doubt what Gengish khan would want.


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