Remains that appear to belong to the palace of Ginghis Khan’s grandson Hulagu Khan have been discovered in Turkey’s eastern Van province, a team of archaeologists suggests.
However, some scientists not associated with the research have urged caution, saying more information is needed before the structure can be linked to the Han family.
Hulagu (also spelled Hülegü) Han was a Mongol leader who lived between 1217 and 1265 AD. and led military expeditions to the Middle East.
What made Hulagu Han stand out?
He was well known for the sack of Baghdad in 1258, which resulted in the destruction of much of the city (including the House of Wisdom, also known as the Great Library of Baghdad) and the execution of Baghdad’s leader, Caliph Al-Musta’sim Billah, take notes Live Science.
The unity of the Mongol Empire ended in 1259 after the death of Möngke Han, another grandson of Ginghis Han; a smaller Mongol Empire called the “Ilkhanate” (also spelled Il-khanat) and ruled by Hulagu Khan formed in the Middle East. The Ilkhanate was short-lived and collapsed in the early 14th century, the last remnants being destroyed in 1357.
Historical documents mention the existence of a palace and a summer capital in the region, but do not specify exactly where. Excavation of a palace is underway, but it appears to have been heavily looted.
In what condition is the palace of Ginghis Khan’s grandson?
“The remaining walls of Ginghis Khan’s grandson’s palace are now completely ruined,” said Munkhtulga Rinchinkhorol, an archaeologist at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences in Mongolia. Despite the looting, the team found remains of tiles, bricks, tricolor pottery and porcelain.
“An important discovery is that some of the tiles have symbols similar to the letter ‘s’ at the end of the roof,” Rinchinkhorol said. Known as the “swastika or tamga pattern,” they are “some of the symbols of power of the Mongol khans,” he said.
The evidence tends to confirm the palace’s ownership
Various forms of swastika designs were used in ancient and medieval times and a version of them was appropriated by the Nazis in the 20th century. Tablets with these symbols are an important reason researchers believe they have found the palace of Ginghis Khan’s grandson Hulagu Khan, Rinchinkhorol noted.
The artifacts, combined with historical records that mention a strong Mongol presence in the area, lead researchers to believe that the palace dates back to the Ilkhanate.
On-site research is being carried out by a joint Turkish-Mongolian team. A report on this research will be prepared in the next few months, Rinchinkhorol said.