Hulegu was the grandson of Chinggis Khan, son of Tolui, and established the Il-Khanate of Persia (also known as the Il-Khan, or  Ilkhan). His bothers included Mongke (r. 1251-1259), Qubilai (r. 1260-1294), Arigh Boke (r. 1260-1264), and Bochek. Three of his brothers Mongke, Qubilai, and Arigh Boke were appointed as Great Khans and served in […]

Maragheh (Maragha)

Hulegu Khan, the grandson of Chinggis Khan and son of Tolui, set up his first capital at Khariyat-i-Maragheh in c. 1258. Translated Khariyat-i-Maragheh means “the village of the pastures.” Maragheh was and is still located close to Lake Urumiyeh in Iran; relatively close to the Iranian and Turkish border. Maragheh is located in the region […]


After Persia was conquered by Muslims in the 8th century, Yemenite immigrants inhabited the small village of Tabriz and developed it into a thriving city. Tabriz continued to flourish under the Muslim Abbasid caliphate. According to legend, after a devastating earthquake in 791 C.E., the wife of the caliph, Zubaidah, rebuilt and beautified the city […]


After conquering Syria and the eastern Mediterranean basin, the Mongols tried to push southward toward Egypt. Just two years after sacking Baghdad, the Mongols were positioned in Gaza ready to invade Egypt. In 1260 the Mongol military commander Hulegu sent a message to Cairo demanding that the ruling Mamluks surrender. Instead the Mamluk leader, Qutuz, […]

Sack of Baghdad

A major political and cultural center, Baghdad was sacked and nearly entirely destroyed by the Mongols in 1258. Baghdad had been the capital of the third Islamic caliphate, the Abbasids, since the eighth century. Located along the Tigris River, it was well-known across the medieval world for its intellectual centers and artistic hubs. The House […]


Located in the fertile and well-fortified region of Elburz just south of the Caspian Sea, Alamut was a medieval fortress city inhabited by Nizari Ismaili Muslims. Upset with the Sunni Seljuk governance which dominated the Middle East in their day, Ismailis gradually migrated toward Persia, finding refuge with the Shiite rulers there. Some developed a […]