A large-scale renovation of the mausoleum of Genghis Khan is underway in Inner Mongolia.
The tomb of the founder of the Mongol Empire of the Middle Ages is in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The project, at the cost of 180 million yuan (US$ 22 million), will hopefully receive 50,000 tourists a year, said Mengkeduren, head of the mausoleum's administrative bureau.
Genghis Khan was born in 1162 and died at the age of 65 in 1227 in what is now northwest China's Gansu Province, when he was battling against the Xixia Kingdom,or Western Xia Dynasty 1038-1227, in an attempt to conquering the country. His remains were taken to the Ejin Horo Banner on the Ordos Highlands and buried.
Five hundred nomadic families of his clan were picked to stand guard at the mausoleum, who subsequently became the special group to defend the mausoleum of the great warrior for generation after generation.
They were subsequently renamed the Dalhut people, which means "guards of the sacred mausoleum" in Mongolian.
When Japanese troops invaded China in 1937, the Dalhuts moved Genghis Khan's remains to northwestern Qinghai Province and the mausoleum was abandoned. His remains did not return until 1954 when the central government of PRC rebuilt the mausoleum.
Since then, the Dalhuts had a formal site selected for making grand ceremonies.
The existing mausoleum covers an area of 0.5 square kilometers.
But despite the number of repairs and renovations, the tomb remained dilapidated, shabby owing to its limited investment.
So for years, local Mongolians and personalities from all walks of life in Inner Mongolia repeatedly appealed help. In 2001, architects and archaeologists worked out a blueprint for the mausoleum's renovation and expansion, which is to be submitted to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage for approval.
Minor work has already started on the tomb. Numerous hotels, shops and residential buildings situated outside the tomb's red tiled walls have already been moved to new designated area about 3 kilometers away and rows of new constructions in tune with the style of the mausoleum have sprung up. They include, among others, a 4 kilometer-long Genghis Khan Road, a 15 kilometer-long scenic road, a square named after Genghis Khan, and a museum on the history and culture of the ethnic Mongolian group.
"When the renovation and expansion project is completed, the Dalhut people will continue to take charge of guarding the mausoleum, which remains listed under the top State administration protection," said Chageder, former head of the mausoleum's administrative bureau who is from the Dalhut people.
"The renovation work is a good thing as it will be beneficial not only to the protection of the sites of historical interest but to locals, who will benefit from the development of local tourism industry," said Enkebayin, a herdsmen of the Dalhut people.
(China Daily December 29, 2004)