Sarai (city)

Sarai (also transcribed as Saraj or Saray, from Persian sarāi, "palace" or "court"[1]) was the name of two cities, which were successively capital cities of the Golden Horde, the Mongol kingdom which ruled much of Central Asia and Eastern Europe, in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Old Sarai

Tilework fragments of a palace in Sarai.

"Old Sarai", or "Sarai Batu" or "Sarai-al-Maqrus"[2] (al-Maqrus is Arabic for "the blessed") was established by Mongol ruler Batu Khan in the mid-1240s, on a site east of the Akhtuba river, near to the modern village of Selitrennoye.[3]

This site was most probably located on the Akhtuba River, a channel of the lower Volga River, near the contemporary village of Selitrennoye in Kharabali District, Astrakhan Oblast, Russia, about 120 km north from Astrakhan.

Sarai was the seat of Batu and his successor Berke. Under them Sarai was the capital of a great empire. The various Rus' princes came to Sarai to pledge allegiance to the Khan and receive his patent of authority (yarlyk).[4]