Archaeologists claim to have discovered palace of Genghis Khan in Mongolia

April 8th, 2009 - 2:49 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, April 8 (ANI): A team of archaeologists has claimed to have located the palace of the famous Genghis Khan, among ruins in Khara Khorum, the capital of the notorious conqueror, in Mongolia.

Surrounded by tall mud walls, the Mongol capital rose up out of the blank plains.

People of many nationalities walked its warrens of narrow streets: Chinese, Muslims, and Frenchmen. Many of these foreigners lived in Khara Khorum involuntarily, conscripts from conquered cities.

The city layout reflected their diversity: there were mosques, “idol temples” and even a Nestorian Christian church.

Archaeologists have found Chinese-style tiles and turret decorations that probably adorned the roofs of buildings.

Khara Khorum was also a trade center and goods from far and wide have been recovered there: silver Muslim coins, pieces of Chinese pottery.

Genghis’s grandson, Kublai Khan, eventually moved the capital city to Beijing and built a summer palace at Shangdu - the “stately pleasure dome” of Samuel Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” poem.

“You can’t rule a population of 75 million from Mongolia,” said Morris Rossabi, who teaches Asian history at Columbia University. “Kublai was trying to ingratiate himself with the Chinese, playing down the foreignness of his dynasty to win over his subjects,” he added.

Khara Khorum began to fade, although the Khans periodically returned to the city on the steppe.

After the Mongols were expelled from China in the fourteenth century, they briefly made the city their center again. In 1388, the Chinese obliterated it.

The site remained important to various Mongol clans and in 1586, Abtaj Khan built a large Buddhist monastery there.

The Palace of the Great Khan, archaeologists now think, lies beneath the remains of this complex, much of which was destroyed by Mongolia’s Communist leadership in the 1930s.

Its silver fountain may never be recovered, but to historians, the real fascination of the Mongols’ city is that it existed at all.

Archaeologists have also unearthed evidence of glass-working and bone-carving workshops.

“We found relics of the craftsmen’s quarters and firing places and iron and metal artifacts,” said Ernst Pohl, a German archaeologist who spent years excavating the site.

His team discovered a gold bracelet decorated with a phoenix flanked by demons that had apparently been made in the city. (ANI)

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