The Mystery Behind Genghis Khan's Burial

Genghis Khan — the first emperor of the Mongol Empire — is one of the most well-known conquerors in history. Under his rule, he established policies that united tribes, which in turn created an empire that controlled Asian and European territories (via Britannica). Records indicate that Khan died in 1227, but the circumstances surrounding his death are unknown. According to historians, it is most likely that the emperor died from injuries during battle.

Even before his death, however, Khan had already planned where he wanted to be buried. It is said that the emperor was hunting near the Burkhan Khaldun mountain (pictured below) when he sat down to rest under a tree. Upon seeing the beauty of the scenery, he decided that he wanted the mountain to be his final resting place, per Amusing Planet. The Burkhan Khaldun mountain is located in the northeastern part of Mongolia and is considered a sacred site. Many believe that Khan was born and is buried there.

After his death, Khan's body was transported back to his birthplace, and he was buried in secrecy. Legend has it that warriors who brought his body to its final spot died by suicide to ensure the location would remain a secret, and the army rode their horses over the site to hide the exact burial location, according to History Hit.

The search for Genghis Khan's tomb

Throughout the years, historians and experts pored over historical texts to find clues about where Genghis Khan's tomb might be. There have even been efforts to investigate its location using satellite imagery. However, no one has ever located Genghis Khan's body. Mongolia mainly consists of vast areas that are difficult to navigate. Through the years, some tombs have been discovered in the area, but not one of them has been identified as the emperor, as reported by History Hit. Some of the tombs that were found were unearthed from as deep as 20 meters, and it is most likely that Khan was buried just as deep, if not even deeper.

Mongolians, however, do not want Khan's tomb to be found, not because they don't care for the emperor, but out of respect. In their thinking, Khan didn't want his remains to be discovered and his warriors went through lengths to conceal his body, so it should remain a secret just as Khan intended (via BBC). "If they'd wanted us to find it, they would have left some sign," Uelun, a Mongolian, said.