Unveiled: City Founded by Genghis Khan's Descendants

2 Christian temples discovered along Volga River
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 25, 2014 2:39 PM CDT
In this photo released by STV film studios, actor Tadanobu Asano plays Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan in Kazakhstan's Oscar-nominated epic "The Mongol."   (AP Photo/STV, HO)

(Newser) – Working along Russia's Volga River, archaeologists have discovered what's left of the 750-year-old city of Ukek, headed by the descendants of Genghis Khan. The researchers uncovered the city's Christian quarter, which was often visited by wealthy people; while some Christians were enslaved, the findings suggest that not all suffered that fate, LiveScience reports. The discovery includes a pair of Christian temples, one of which was built in 1280 and destroyed not long after. It was "roofed with tiles and decorated with murals and stone carving(s)," says a researcher.

The basement contained imported plates and bottles of Byzantine, Egyptian, or Iranian origin. Also among the findings were "a Chinese glass hair pin, with a head shaped as a split pomegranate, and a fragment of a bone plate with a carved dragon image," the researcher notes. He also describes stone carvings from the temple, featuring images like a cross and a griffin clawing a lion. Ukek was founded by Batu Khan, a descendant of Genghis Khan, Archaeology reports. It was part of Batu's Golden Horde kingdom, which reached from Europe to Central Asia. But the city was destroyed in the late 14th century in an attack by Tamerlane, a ruler who took control of a great deal of the Golden Horde's lands. (Just a few weeks ago, reports described details of another ancient city in Asia, revealed via lasers.)

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