Genghis Khan’s tomb has a lot of treasures? Why have posterity been busy looking for thousands of years but can’t find it? How was Genghis Khan buried?

The supposed tomb of Genghis Khan is a vast expanse of land, fitting well with a great legend. There are no roads, no permanent houses… Only vast grasslands, blue sky and whistling wind.

We stopped to drink salted milk tea in a round tent, called “ger” in the local language by nomadic herders in the grasslands, snapping pictures of horses neighing. This is the territory of Omnogovi province, Mongolia. The land was so vast that we couldn’t imagine going all the way by horse instead of car.

National pride

But this is the land of Genghis Khan, the Mongol leader who conquered the world on horseback. His story is full of kidnapping, bloodshed, love and revenge. But that’s the story of his life. The legend only begins when he dies.

Genghis Khan once ruled a large area, extending from the Pacific Ocean to the Caspian Sea.

Before his death, Genghis Khan requested a secret burial. The Mongol emperor’s soldiers brought his body from Western Xia to the capital, killing anyone they met on the way for the purpose of keeping it a secret. When Genghis Khan’s body was buried, his generals sent 1,000 horsemen back and forth across the grave to erase any traces.

800 years after the death of Genghis Khan (1227), no one has found his grave. Expeditions led by foreigners were organized to find the location of the tomb that was held. People base themselves on historical data, go to historical lands, observe from satellites, according to BBC News.

National Geographic magazine even opened a project called Genghis Khan Valley, using images taken from satellites, organizing large-scale searches. But most of those who want to find Genghis Khan’s grave are foreigners. The Mongols were not enthusiastic about the idea.

It is not that Genghis Khan was not important to the history of Mongolia or to the people, quite the contrary. His portrait is put on money, on stamps of wine bottles… Therefore, it may be difficult for foreigners to understand when the Mongols consider it taboo to be questioned or to find Genghis Khan’s grave.

This reluctance of the Mongols is sometimes made “romantic” or “dramatic” by the press and media by attaching them to certain “curses”, such as “the world will perish” if Genghis Khan’s grave is found”.

These rumors are probably based on another legend: In 1941, the tomb of King Tamarlane of Mongolia – Turkey in the 14th century was unearthed by Soviet archaeologists. Soon after, Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, initiating the bloody Eastern Front in World War 2. Superstitious people see it as a retribution.

But Uelun, the Mongolian interpreter, is not a superstitious person. She is a young Mongolian man who graduated with a degree in international relations from Buryat University in Ulan-Ude, Russia. In her opinion, abstaining from talking about Genghis Khan’s grave in Mongolia is not superstition, but respect. Because Genghis Khan did not want the next generation to find his grave.

“The Mongols tried to hide his grave,” she said. “To dig Genghis Khan’s grave is against his will.”

It’s a common sentiment. Mongolia is a country with a long tradition and deep national pride. Many families hang portraits of Genghis Khan in their homes. Some consider themselves “descendants of the gods”, claiming that their ancestors are from ancient royalty. All over Mongolia, Genghis Khan is a symbol of strength and power.


In addition to the pressure to respect the wishes of Genghis Khan, the search for the emperor’s grave has also encountered many technical problems. The area of ​​​​Mongolia is very large and the country is still very unspoiled and underdeveloped: 7 times the size of England, but the road system is only 2%. The population density is extremely low, can be said to be among the lowest in the world. The uninhabited wilderness is everywhere. In that context, finding a grave was not easy.

Dr. Diimaajav Erdenebaatar has for many years faced such a situation when carrying out his work related to archaeology. As head of the Department of Archeology at Ulaanbaatar University, the capital of Mongolia, he was one of the participants in the first expedition with the goal of finding the location of Genghis Khan’s grave.

This is a joint Japanese-Mongolian project called Gurvan Gol (meaning “three rivers”) centered on the birthplace of Genghis Khan in Khentii province, where three rivers are Onon, Kherlen and Tuul flow through. It was 1990, when Mongolia changed its institutions. The project was opposed and forced to stop.

Uelun and the BBC met with Dr. Erdenebaatar to talk about finding the grave, especially his current project with the resting place of Genghis Khan. Since 2001, he has been excavating a 2,000-year-old ancient tomb. The tombs are believed to belong to the Xiongnu kings in central Mongolia, in the province of Arkhangai.

Dr. Erdenebaatar believes that Xiongnu is the ancestor of the Mongols. Genghis Khan himself also believed in this. This means that it is likely that the burial rites will be similar and that what is found in the Xiongnu kings’ tombs may well reflect what is in the tombs of Genghis Khan.

However, what Dr. Erdenebaatar wants is not exactly what many Mongolians want because there is still controversy in Mongolian society about this.

Simply put, Genghis Khan is clearly the greatest hero of the Mongols. The West only remembers what he took, but the Mongols remember what Genghis Khan created. His empire connected East and West, opening the door to the Silk Road. He also created a reliable postal service, introducing paper money. Genghis Khan not only conquered the world, he also contributed to the creation of civilization.

To this day, he is still respected in many places. And that’s why Mongols like Uelun wanted Genghis Khan’s grave to be left alone. “If they (the ancestors) wanted us to find the grave, they would have left signs,” she said.

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