Ruins decorated with swastikas could be a clue to the palace of Genghis Khan’s bloodthirsty grandson, archaeologists say

Aerial view of the excavation site in Turkey

Aerial view of the excavation site in Van, Turkey, where researchers are investigating whether this was the site of Hulagu Khan’s summer palace.Necat Hazar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

  • A team of archaeologists may have discovered the ruins of a palace owned by Genghis Khan’s grandson.

  • The team says ruined swastika patterns in Van, Turkey, could link the archaeological site to Hulagu Khan.

  • Hulagu Khan is known for slaying armies, destroying cities, and trampling a caliph to death with horses.

Archaeologists may have uncovered the remains of an ancient summer palace built for Genghis Khan’s bloodthirsty grandson Hulagu Khan in the 1260s, according to new research.

A joint Turkish and Mongolian excavation team led by Ersel Çağlıtütüncigil of İzmir Kâtip Çelebi University found remains of tiles, bricks and pottery in the Van Province of eastern Turkey.

Scientists at excavation site in Turkey

Researchers examine the remains of tiles and pottery at an excavation site in Van Province, Turkey.Necat Hazar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Archaeologists noticed that there were symbols similar to, or “swastikas”, printed on the tiles, said Munkhtulga Rinchinkhorol, an archaeologist who was at the excavation, according to Live Science.

Although the swastika pattern is now primarily associated with Nazi Germany, Rinchinkhorol told the science journal that the symbol was formerly used as “one of the power symbols of the Mongol Khans”.

A view of the Genghis Khan statue in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

A view of the Genghis Khan statue in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The arms and collar of his cloak are decorated with swastikas.Sergen Sezgin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The association of the swastikas with the Mongol Khans, along with historical records indicating that the Mongols had a large presence in the area, indicates that this could have been a palace built during the Ilkhanate period, Live Science reported.

The Ilkhanate was a small Mongol empire during the 13th and 14th centuries, founded by Hulaghu Khan. Hulagu, who conquered significant parts of West Asia, is known for massacring armies and destroying cities. He was well known for sacking Baghdad in 1258 and trampling its caliph to death with horses.

An illustration by Hulagu Khan

A 14th century illustration of Hulagu Khan being enthroned.Images from the History/Universal Images group via Getty Images

There are historical records indicating that an Ilkhanate palace existed in the area, per Live Science. 13th-century Armenian historians Kirakos of Ganja and Grigory of Akanc gave accounts of palaces near Lake Van, the scientific journal reported.

But Timothy May, professor of Central Eurasian History at the University of North Georgia, told Live Science that while it’s possible this palace once belonged to Hulagu and the scholars are “very good and could be correct,” more research is needed. .

Michael Hope, chair of Asian Studies at Yonsei University in Korea, told Live Science that he agrees with May’s assessment. “Whether this is the Hülegü palace described by Kirakos remains to be seen,” he said, per Live Science. “I certainly wouldn’t rule it out, but I’m looking forward to more information.”

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