Digging up Genghis Khan

Chicago lawyer heads quest for the Mongolian warlord.

Published February 28, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Somewhere in Mongolia is the tomb of legendary 13th-century warlord Genghis Khan, creator of the largest contiguous empire in history. The exact
location of his resting place is unknown because, rumor has it, the 800
troops who buried their leader were immediately killed upon returning from
his funeral so its location would be kept secret.

Now, nearly 800 years later, a Chicago lawyer with a penchant for history is
leading an expedition to Mongolia in order to retrace Khan's footsteps and
locate his secret tomb.

According to the Associated Press, attorney Maury Kravitz, 67, has spent years
researching Khan's life. But even if he does locate Khan's tomb, which is
reputed to contain quite a booty (and I don't mean Genghis'), the Mongolian
government has said it won't allow excavation. Disturbing the
remains of the deceased is taboo in Mongolia, where many believe souls of
the dead might be destroyed if their bodies are unearthed.

Kravitz, however, is not deterred. He says he will carry out his $1.2 million quest to find Khan's birthplace and burial site, plus the site at which the leader was proclaimed "Genghis Khan the Khan of Khans." If he is allowed, he admitted that he'd like to do a little digging, too.

Will the Lawyer of Lawyers destroy the Khan of Khan's soul? Only time will tell.

By J.A. Getzlaff

J.A. Getzlaff's Daily Planet appears every weekday. Do you have a tip or tale for J.A.? Send it to DailyPlanet@salon.com.

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