Palace Ruins Decorated With Swastikas Linked To Genghis Khan

Palace Ruins Decorated With Swastikas Linked To Genghis Khan

  • A team of archaeologists may have discovered the ruins of a palace belonging to Genghis Khan’s grandson.
  • The team says swastika patterns on ruins in Van, Turkey may link the archaeological site to Hulagu Khan.
  • Hulagu Khan is famous for killing armies, destroying cities, and trampling a caliph to death with horses.

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

A joint Turkish and Mongolian excavation team, led by Ersel Çağlıtütüncigil from İzmir Kâtip Çelebi University, discovered the remains of roof tiles, bricks and ceramics in Van province in eastern Turkey.

Scientists at an excavation site in Turkey

Researchers examine the remains of roof tiles and pottery at an excavation site in Van province, Turkey.

Necat Hazar / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


Archaeologists noticed that s-like symbols, or “swastikas,” were imprinted on the roof tiles, said Munkhtulga Rinchinkhorol, an archaeologist who was on the dig, according to Live Science.

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

View from the statue of Genghis Khan in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

View from the statue of Genghis Khan in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The arms and collar of his suit 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 be 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 Western Asia, is known for killing armies and destroying cities. He was famous for the sack of Baghdad in 1258 when he trampled its caliph to death with horses.

Illustration of Hulagu Khan

A 14th century portrait of Hulagu Khan being preserved.

Pictures from History / Universal Images Group via Getty Images


There are historical records that indicate that there was an Ilkhanate palace in the area, according to Living Science. 13th-century Armenian historians Kirakos de Ganja and Grigory de Akanc gave accounts of palaces near Lake Van, the scientific journal reported.

But Timothy May, a professor of Central Eurasian History at the University of North Georgia, told Live Science that while this palace may have belonged to Hulagu and the scholars are “very good and maybe right,” there is a need more research.

Michael Hope, chair of Asian Studies at Yonsei University in Korea, told Live Science that he agreed with May’s assessment. “It remains to be seen if this is the Hülegü palace described by Kirakos,” he said, per Live Science. “I certainly won’t turn it down, but I’m hungry for more information.”

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