The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan

The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan

By Sunny XieUpdated Aug. 4, 2021

Situated about 15 kilometers (9 miles) southeast of Xilian Town, Yijinhuoluo County of Ordos Prefecture in Inner Mongolia, the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan serves as a sacred gathering place for Mongolian people to commemorate and offer sacrifices to their hero, Genghis Khan. Visitors are always amazed by its magnificence and glamour.

Scroll down to find facts and key travel info about the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan.

Mausoleum of Genghis KhanMausoleum of Genghis Khan

Key Facts about the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan for Travelers

  • Chinese: 成吉思汗陵 Chéngjísīhán Líng /chnng-jee-srr-han ling / ‘Mausoleum of Genghis Khan’
  • Area: 55,000 sq km (21,236 sq mi).
  • Recommended visit duration: 1–3 hours
  • Open: 
    7:30am–6:30pm, April 21 – October 7
    8:00am–5:30pm, October 8 – April 20
  • Popular activities: learning about the history of Genghis Khan and the worship ceremonies of the Mongols
  • Suited to: anyone, especially history and Genghis Khan lovers
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About Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan (1162–1227) was a folk hero and the founder of the Mongol Empire.

Genghis Khan spent almost all his life fighting and conquering other places on the horseback. He united the nomadic tribes of the Mongolian Plateau, laid the foundations for the unification of China under Mongol rule, and then continued his conquest westward to establish the Mongol Empire, the largest empire in world history. The establishment of the empire enhanced trade, cultural exchanges, interracial mingling between the East and the West, and had a great significance in the history of China as well as the world.

See more on 10 Amazing Facts about Genghis Khan>>>

Statue of Genghis KhanStatue of Genghis Khan

The Contents of the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan

The Mausoleum is not the real burial place of Genghis Khan, but rather, a cenotaph and the place where he wanted to be commemorated. According to Khan's will, he was buried without any indication of his interment. His burial place remains a mystery to this day.

Just like the great achievements that Genghis Khan made, the mausoleum was constructed on a large scale, its architecture splendid and stunning with a strong Mongolian ethnic style. The whole scenic spot is composed of two parts: the Tomb Complex and Donglian Scenic Area.

Mausoleum of Genghis KhanAobao Area of Mausoleum of Genghis Khan

The Tomb Complex

The Tomb Complex consists of three “palaces” (big examples of Mongolian-style architecture) as the main structure and other cultural relics sites like the Sulede Sacrificial Altar, the Stele Pavilions, the marble statue of Genghis Khan on horseback, etc.

The palaces are the Main Palace (including the Back Palace), East Palace and West Palace. Connected by two corridors, they are “shaped like a flying eagle”. The three dome-shaped roofs are actually yurts — portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structures used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia and covered with yellow silk on the top.  

The Main Palace

The main palace — the middle one of the three — is 26 meters (85’) tall, with a 5-meter-tall (16’) marble statue of Genghis Khan, armor-clad and on horseback. Behind him, there is a map of the vast territory of the Mongol Empire, which shows his glorious conquests.

The Main PalaceThe Main Palace

The Back Palace

Coffins of Genghis Khan and his wives are laid in the Back Palace or Imperial Burial Palace.

The coffin of Genghis Khan is made of silver, with a golden lock and decorated by patterns of rose blooms. On both sides of the coffin are placed sabers, swords, arrows, bows and other weapons that had been used by Genghis Khan.

The East Palace

The East Palace holds the coffins of Genghis Khan's fourth son Tolui (Kublai Khan's father) and Tolui's wife. Tolui has a very eminent status because many of the ancient Mongolian kings who were his descendants.

The West Palace

In the West Palace are nine banners and suleding (iron spearheads) with Mongolian-style decorations, symbolizing the prosperity and the power of Genghis Khan's empire.

The nine banners represent the nine trusted generals that followed Genghis Khan in his conquests. The iron spearheads were placed on the flag that Genghis Khan used to herald his army in the wars. After he died, the legend said that his soul went into the spearheads. Therefore, the suleding are very sacred to the Mongolian people.

Iron Horse and Cold YurtIron Horse and Cold Yurt

The Two Corridors

The two corridors connect the three palaces with large murals on the walls. Corridor frescos depict the significant events of Genghis Khan's life and the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368 AD) by his grandson Kublai Khan.

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Donglian Scenic Area

Donglian Scenic Area, or the New Scenic Area, was built by the Donglian Group (an Ordos business conglomerate) in recent years, hence the name.

The scenic area includes three districts, two pathways, and eight tourist centers. There, you can wear traditional Mongolian costumes, enjoy Mongolian flavored dishes, and watch Mongolian-style singing and dancing performances. In addition, there are many grassland activities, such as wrestling, horse riding, and archery.

Mongolian WeddingMongolian Wedding

The Three Districts

The three districts are the ‘Sightseeing District for the Protection of Historic Relics’, the ‘Conservation District for Ecosystem Preservation’, and the ‘Development Restricted District of Visual Spectacles’.

The Two Pathways

The two pathways are the 4-kilometer (2.4-mile) Sacred Pathway of Genghis Khan from the entrance to the tomb palace, and the 16-kilometer (10-mile) sightseeing pathway surrounding Bayinchanghuo Prairie and connecting the various scenic spots and districts.

Eight Tourist Centers

The eight tourist centers are the Tourist Activity Center, the Tourist Education Center, the Sacrificial Sightseeing District, the Mongolian Folk Custom Village, the Shenquan Ecological Tourism Region, the Naadam Equestrian Sport Center, and the Hot Air Balloon Club.

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Genghis Khan Worship

Four ceremonies are held at the Mausoleum every year to worship Genghis Khan. They are held according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar on the 21st of the third month (around mid-April–mid-May, the 12th of the fifth month (around June), the 12th of the ninth month (around October) and the 3rd of the tenth month (around late October to late November) each year.

The Da’erhute Tribe

All the ceremonies are organized and held by the Da’erhute tribe, the ancestors of whom were the guard troops of Genghis Khan.

From the year when Genghis Khan died, 1227 AD, the Da’erhute tribe began to guard the tomb of their great king. Up to now, there have been thirty-nine generations of this tribe guarding the tomb.

Genghis Khan WorshipGenghis Khan Worship

The Spring Ceremony

The first ceremony, held in the third lunar month of the Chinese year in the Main Palace, is known as the Spring Ceremony and it is the most important and the grandest.

Mongolian people from far and near come to attend this great activity, wearing their traditional costumes. They burn incense, offer hada (ceremonial scarves), fine wine, food, dairy products, and other sacrifices in front of Genghis Khan's statue.

After the worship ceremony, various traditional Mongolian activities, similar to those of the Naadam Festival are held, such as horse racing, archery, and wrestling.

WrestlingWrestling

Touring the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan with China Highlights

Public transportation does not go to the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan. Rich in the history of Genghis Khan and the Mongols, it is worth getting to with an experienced English-speaking guide on a private guided tour.

Here are our most popular Inner Mongolia tours for inspiration:

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