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Archaeologists Say Swastika-decorated Ruins Could Be A Clue To The Palace Of Genghis Khan’s Bloodthirsty Grandson

  • A team of archaeologists may have discovered the ruins of a palace owned by the grandson of Genghis Khan.
  • The team says that the swastika pattern on the ruins in Van, Turkey may link the archeological site to Hulgu Khan.

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

A joint Turkish and Mongolian excavation team led by Ersel ağlıtütüncigil of Izmir Katip Selebi University found the remains of roof tiles, bricks and ceramic pottery in Van Province in eastern Turkey.

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

Archaeologists found that there were S-like symbols, or “swastikas,” imprinted on the roof tiles, said Mukhtulga Rinchinkhorol, an archaeologist who was on the excavation, per Live Science.

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

Archaeologists say swastika-decorated ruins could be a clue to the palace of Genghis Khan's bloodthirsty grandson
A view of a statue of Genghis Khan in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The arms and collar of his garment are decorated with swastikasSergen Sejin / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

As Live Science reports, the association of the swastikas with the Mongol Khans, with historical records indicating that there was a large presence of Mongols in the area, indicating that it may have been a palace built during the Ilkhanate period.

Ilkhanate was a small Mongol kingdom founded by Hulagu Khan during the 13th and 14th centuries. Hulagu, who conquered significant parts of Western Asia, is known to have killed armies and destroyed cities. He was famous for trampling the bag of Baghdad and its caliph with horses in 1258.

Archaeologists say swastika-decorated ruins could be a clue to the palace of Genghis Khan's bloodthirsty grandson
Depiction of Hulagu Khan’s ascension to the throne, 14th century.History/Universal Image Group images via Getty Images

According to Live Science, there are historical records indicating the existence of an Ilkhanate palace in the area. Science magazine reported that 13th-century Armenian historians Kirkos of Ganja and Grigori of Akanka gave descriptions of palaces near Lake Van.

But Timothy May, a professor of Central Eurasian history at the University of North Georgia, told Live Science that although it is possible that the castle belonged to Hulagu and scholars “might be very good and correct,” more research is needed.

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

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