Genghis Khan (known in
Mongolia as Chinggis Khaan) once ruled
everything between the Pacific Ocean and the Caspian Sea.
Upon his death he asked to be buried in secret. A grieving army carried his
body home, killing anyone it met to hide the route. When the emperor was
finally laid to rest, his soldiers rode 1,000 horses over his grave to destroy
any remaining trace.
In the 800 years since Genghis Khan’s death, no-one has found his tomb.
A possible lead in a forbidden location
Folklore holds that Genghis Khan was buried on a peak in the Khentii Mountains called Burkhan Khaldun, roughly 160km north-east of Ulaanbaatar. He had hidden from enemies on that mountain as a young man and pledged to return there in death. Yet there’s dissent among scholars as to precisely where on the mountain he’d be ‒ if at all.
“It is a sacred mountain,” acknowledged Dr Sodnom Tsolmon, professor of history at
Honouring a warrior’s final wish
With the tomb seemingly out of reach, why does it remain such a controversial issue in
Genghis Khan is simply
’s greatest hero. The West
recalls only what he conquered, but Mongolians remember what he created. His
empire connected East and West, allowing the Mongolia Silk Road
to flourish. His rule enshrined the concepts of diplomatic immunity and
religious freedom. He established a reliable postal service and the use of
paper money. Genghis Khan didn’t just conquer the world, he civilised it.
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