Here's a different one for you guys: what's the story behind the June 1941 opening of the tomb belonging to Timur of the Timurid Empire and the supposed curse it unleashed on the USSR?

On 19 June 1941, Soviet archaeologists opened the tomb of Timur (also know as Tamerlane.) Considered to be the last of the great conquerors from the Eurasian Steppe, Timur was undefeated in battle and saw himself as the heir to Chinggis Khaan. He died in 1405 and his remains were placed in an elaborate tomb located in Uzbekistan.

The story goes that when his sarcophagus was opened, archaeologists discovered an inscription that read “Whomsoever opens my tomb shall unleash an invader more terrible than I.” Three days later Germany launched Operation Barbarossa. Timur was finally re-buried in late 1942 just prior to the German defeat at Stalingrad.

How much of this story is fact and how much is fiction?


At least it is a cool story, do you have any sources for this story in the first place. I would appreciate.


Sure! At least there’s plenty of sources that talk about the curse anecdotally. The Soviet archaeologist that lead the expedition was Mikhail Mikhaylovich Gerasimov. He was well known for doing facial recreations of various figures such as Ivan the Terrible. Obviously its more likely than not that the story is an urban legend; but how much truth is at the center of it?

Here’s some articles about the “curse.” A google search turns up plenty more along these lines.