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Caravanserai history Tash-Rabat.

Cultural tours to Tash-Rabat caravanserai.

“It is remarkable that the Kirghiz tell about Tash-Rabat of the famous building in the area where the Kirghiz later lived the same legend as about Akhyr-Tash...”

"Essays on the history of Semirechie" V. V. Bartold.

Tours to architectural monuments of Kyrgyzstan.

Tash-Rabat was built in the XVth century, the century of absolute dominance in the Tien-Shan, in the kingdom of Moghulistan, by the Kyrgyz - "the wild lions of Moghulistan" (an expression by Muhammad Haidar, the author of the early XVIth century).
At that time, the Tien-Shan and its trade routes connecting Kashgar with Fergana and Semirechye were completely in the hands of nomads. A field survey of Tash-Rabat established that the layout of the building had not changed over the centuries of its existence, and the alleged B.N. Zasypkin mihrab in the western wall of the central building (the mosque he proposed).
The construction of Tash-Rabat is attributed to the zealous admirer of Islam Mohammed Sultan. A legend is associated with his name, according to which he allegedly ordered a turban to be nailed to the head of everyone who did not want to wear it.
Folk legends connect the Tash-Rabat caravanserai either with the name of the Uzbek Khan Abdullah, or with the names of the Emir of Bukhara and even Timur. According to other legends, Tash-Rabat was built by people from Rome (Nestorians).
Thirdly, there are lyrical motives for the construction of the castle by a hero, etc. It is characteristic that in all these legends the construction of the building is not associated with the activities of the local population, while the ruins of the ancient town of Atbash are called Koshoy-Korgon and are associated with the name of the hero Koshoy, an associate of the Kyrgyz the legendary hero Manas.
Obviously, this information about Tash-Rabat is connected with the fact that the masters who built it were of Western, Central Asian origin. It is noteworthy that the historical and architectural significance of Tash-Rabat and its uniqueness are noted both in the first mentions - reports and reports of prominent Russian travelers and researchers of the nature of Central Asia, and in the articles of Soviet specialists up to the present.
Since the history of the study of the monument has been repeatedly described in previous publications about it, our monograph contains only those information that are important for the characterization of the building.
For the first time, brief information about Tash-Rabat was given by the scientist-educator Ch. Ch. Valikhanov, who was returning from Kashgaria on March 18, 1859. According to him, the construction of the “rabat” is attributed to the Bukhara Khan Abdullah, “In style,” he writes, “Tash-Rabat belongs to a better architectural era than now in Kashgar.
Asians, prone to superstition, believe that everything that requires great work and art is something supernatural. He supplemented his description of the monument with a schematic outline of the plan and a message about “respect for this building and its builder” by the population and those passing by.
The traveler A. Voitsekhovich writes about the same in the article “Tash-Rabat”, where he cites two legends about him. According to one of them, Tash-Rabat is called a fortification built on the border of the ancient khanate at the same time as the fortress near the town of Osh.
In 1879, the monument was examined by local historian A. M. Fetisov, who noted around the many fresh graves of Dungans who died during the exodus from Kashgaria in the winter of 1877. From the words of local residents (“Sarts”), he recorded that Tash-Rabat “was built by Abdullah Khan 500 years ago for charitable purposes.”
More detailed information about Tash-Rabat is given in 1886 by N. L. Zeland, an enthusiast of local history, who first suggested that a Buddhist or Christian community was located here. He believed that the building could not be a caravanserai in terms of its architectural appearance and layout.
In his travel notes, the researcher cites the message of Lieutenant Colonel Volkov, who 15 years earlier (in 1871) saw “rough figures of a three-headed horse and a five-headed dragon” on the plaster walls (which, however, was not noted by Ch. Ch. Valikhanov, mentioning “arabesques” central hall - S. P.).
The local population, according to the observations of N. L. Zeland, preserved “the most contradictory and implausible legends” about the monument. His guides, for example, claimed that "Sarts and Kirghiz" were buried in the building of Tash-Rabat.
Systematic archaeological research of Tash-Rabat began in 1978, when, by decision of the Ministry of Culture of the Kyrgyz SSR, the monument was being prepared for restoration. Then the workers of the Special Scientific and Restoration Production Workshop (B. V. Pomaskin, E V. Frolov and S. Ya. Peregudov), with the participation of the archaeologist of the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Kirghiz SSR, M. K. Kubatbekov, began its architectural and archaeological study.
In 1979, the SNRPM expedition, which was joined by two more architects (S. S. Merkulova and S. A. Kurochkina), completed the architectural and archaeological measurements of the building, cleared its premises, and made stratigraphic sections along the facades.
The study of Tash-Rabat ended in 1980 with archaeological work on the territory of the monument, the purpose of which was to identify buildings synchronous with it and to examine the adjacent burial ground. A special architectural and archaeological survey of Tash-Rabat, carried out over three field seasons, made it possible to raise the issue of revising the established views on the age and purpose of the building.
Interesting information about Tash-Rabat is given in his unpublished monograph by the architect B. N. Zasypkin. The chapter about Tash-Rabat was written based on the materials of A. N. Bernshtam and the mentioned architectural measurements of M. G. Polishchuk, A. M. Sutyagin and V. K. Zmievsky.
According to the outline of the crooked arches, their proportions and the system of stalactites, B.N. Zasypkin considers it possible to attribute the building to the first half of the 15th century, to assume the participation of craftsmen from Samarkand in its construction.
Challenging the interpretation of Tash-Rabat as a caravanserai, B. N. Zasypkin believed that the appearance of the building was associated with the conquest of Ferghana in 1414 by Ulukbek and was intended for temporary stops of an armed cavalry detachment (numbering 40 - 45 people).
At the same time, the domed hall was considered as a room for meals, religious rituals or as a mosque (with a mihrab in the western niche). In 1980, in connection with the planned work on the restoration of a number of famous medieval monuments of Kyrgyzstan, Tash-Rabat was studied by architects B. V. Churlyavy, V. E. Nusov and V. A. Golubev. Subsequently, a detailed article by V. E. Nusov was published in the Proceedings of the FPI and a book was published with a description of Tash-Rabat.
The author considers the building a fortified point for the embassy relations of the Timurid state with China, and the architectural and construction techniques used in its construction, the forms of lancet arches and the decor style are close to the architectural school of Samarkand of the XVth century.
Twice, in 1972 and 1976, an expedition of the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Kirghiz SSR went to Tash-Rabat to study the visitor's inscriptions left on its walls. One of them, dated 1848, says that someone (the name is illegible) in memory of his beloved wife ordered the reading of the “Khatmi Koran” here.
Like the first researchers of Tash-Rabat, members of the Kyrgyz historical and archaeological expedition came to the conclusion that the monument was used by the faithful Kyrgyz as a revered place: prayers, commemorations and burials were performed here.
At the same time, they noted that there are no premises in the building specially designed for the placement of livestock and goods. Part of the observations based on the results of field research in 1979 was reported at a regional conference in 1980 in the city of Tashkent, was reflected in the materials of the All-Union Conference "Culture and Art of Kyrgyzstan" in 1983 and published in generalizing studies of Kyrgyz historians in the new edition of "History of the Kyrgyz SSR" (1984).
The purpose of this work is a comprehensive description of the architectural structure and the disclosure of its scientific and educational value as a multifaceted complex source. The author expresses his sincere gratitude to V. D. Goryacheva and V. Ya. Galitsky for consultations during the preparation of the manuscript.

Goryacheva V.D. "Cult and Memorial Monuments".
"Tash-Rabat", S.Ya. Peregudov.