Tamerlane’s Curse or Timur’s Curse is a legend that has intrigued many people throughout the world. There is a widespread disagreement among people not about the curse (if at all it is there) but about the stories told about the curse. To play safe, we need to say that we are no judge of what is being said and believed through history. We are here just collecting information and putting them together to provide you with some truly fascinating facts. However, as far as Tamerlane’s Curse is concerned, you will find different stories. Which one is true is really not known to us.
Tamerlane’s Curse or Timur’s Curse or the Curse of Timur’s Tomb – whatever you call it, is actually a legend and a series of events that occurred related to the tomb sparked an uncanny phase in history that will be remembered for eternity, at least for as long as humans exist. So, what was the curse? Was the curse real? Did Timur really come back from the dead to unleash the demons of war and horror? We really don’t know! As a matter of fact, no one knows. So today, we will be giving you 15 facts about Tamerlane’s Curse but, before we start doing so, we need to learn a little bit about Timur. We will keep it as brief as possible because we intend to cover Timur’s life and legend in a different list of facts.
Who was Timur?
14th century was the period back in history when mankind saw the rise of one of the most ruthless invaders the world has ever seen. He descended from the Mongols. Timur’s sole motive was to rebuild the empire that was once built by the barbarous Genghis Khan but in an attempt to do so, he ended but building the Timurid Dynasty. His dynasty was built at the cost of over 17 million lives. If we are to gauge the extent of his empire in modern day geography, it was vast and enormous. His empire started from today’s south-eastern Turkey and covered Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, and passed through central Asia to cover Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, India and Russia. The Timurid Dynasty even went close to China. Actually, Timur made an attempt to attack and conquest China (which was at that time ruled by the Ming Dynasty) and decided to go ahead with the conquest during winters as opposed to his usual spring-time conquests. This was his worst decision and he along with his barbaric and ruthless army faced one of the coldest winters ever registered on Earth in year 1405. Timur fell ill because of the harsh winters and his aging health gave up when he eventually died at the age of 68.
Facts About Tamerlane’s Curse
1 .The Latinized version of Timur’s name is Tamerlane. In 1405, Timur’s tomb was placed in Gūr-e Amīr, a mausoleum. Gūr-e Amīr in Persian means “Tomb of the King”. Gūr-e Amīr is located at Samarkand in Uzbekistan, which was Timur’s place of birth.
2. According to legends, the tombstone of Timur has an inscriptions which says: “When I Rise From the Dead, The World Shall Tremble”.
3. In year 1941, Joseph Stalin ordered the opening of the tomb of Timur.
4. Russian anthropologist by the name Mikhail Gerasimov was given the task of exhumation.
5. Mikhail Gerasimov was at that time one of the most popular anthropologists who was known for reconstructing a face from a skull. Gerasimov did that too with Timur’s skull.
6. Tamerlane’s tomb was actually opened on June 20, 1942 which immediately filled the mausoleum with a choking odor of frankincense, rose, camphor and resin. Initially it was thought that it was the smell of different curses but later it was found that the smell was actually from oils used for embalming.
7. It is being said that there was another inscription inside the tomb which said, ‘Whosoever Disturbs My Tomb Will Unleash an Invader More Terrible than I’.
8. It is being said that three elderly people and Muslim clergy warned Mikhail Gerasimov and Tashmuhammed Kari-Niyazov (who was actually the leader of the exhumation expedition) about the wrath of the cruse but it was completely ignored.
9. The 3 old men also warned them that curse will take effect within 3 days from the date when the tomb will be opened and that wrath will befall the land of those who open the tomb.
10. Nazi Germany under the command of Adolf Hitler invaded Soviet Union (now Russia) on June 22, 1941. This was exactly two days after Tamerlane’s tomb was opened and the remains of Timur were sent to Moscow. This invasion came without any formal declaration of war and Hitler named it as Operation Barbarossa.
11. After numerous defeats at the hands of Germans, Stalin eventually ordered that the remains of Timur be returned to his tomb with full Islamic burial rights.
12. This is exactly what was done on December 20, 1942 and Tamerlane’s remains were returned to his tomb at Samarkand.
13. Shortly after Timur’s remains were put back in his tomb with full Islamic burial, German forces surrendered and the Soviets won the Battle of Stalingrad which till date, remains one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.
14. World War II that was started by Hitler killed around 35 million (some sources estimate more than 50 million) people worldwide and of course the numbers are greater than that under Timur during 14th century. If compared head-on, Hitler was actually a terrible invader than Tamerlane.
15. It is being said that the aircraft that was in charge of carrying Tamerlane’s remains back to Samarkand from Moscow actually made a big detour and flew over Stalingrad on its way to Samarkand.
So, was the curse real? Soviets actually disturbed the tomb of Timur and had to face one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. Soviet Union lost more than 1 million soldiers and around 40,000 civilians in that particular battle. Was Timur back from the dead? Was his spirit the reason why Nazi Germany suddenly invaded Soviet Union or was it just a coincidence? We will go for the option of ‘coincidence’ because as of now, the only way to validate the authenticity of the curse is to reopen the tomb but is there any country that will take this risk?