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Caravanserai history Tash-Rabat.

Cultural tours to Tash-Rabat caravanserai.

“If you follow the ancient maps written on the stars, no person will ever understand you. So if you could read these maps, would you follow them? And forever be misunderstood? Or would you close your eyes tightly and pretend to be like everyone else?” 

C. JoyBell C.

Tours to architectural monuments of Kyrgyzstan.

About 520 km from Bishkek, 125 km (1.5 hours), from Naryn, 17 km from the end of the paved road (just after the emergency airstrip) 90 km (1.5 hours) short of the border at Torugart, and at an altitude of about 3500 m above sea level is the ancient caravanserai of Tash Rabat. 
According to one author, this is probably the best preserved Silk Road site you will find and" nо other retains as much of original atmosphere", This is а carefully restored stone building that once housed an inn on the Great Silk Road. 
The date of origin is strictly unknown - but there is archaeological evidence to suggest that the site was occupied in the, 10th century, Set some 15 km а small, beautiful valley in the foothills of the Tian Shan, embedded against the hillside.
There is evidence that it was а place of both rest and worship and would have served to protect caravans to and from China from both the ravages of the weather and of bandits - from before the time of either Tamerlaine or Genghis Khan. 
The first description of Tash Rabat to reach the West was provided by the Russian explorer Valihanov in 1859. One early report suggests that it was linked to frontier of the ancient settlement of Osh; another that it was built over 500 years ago for "charitable purposes; а third compares it to а cloister; а fourth to а mosque and another links it to the conquest of the Ferghana valley by Ulubek who used it as а temporary garrison for some of his troops. Renovations were carried out in the 1980's - but are so unobtrusive that it is hard to detect the work. 
А centrally domed space is surrounded by some 30 or 31 (nо -one seems to know exactly - the reason seems to be that some of the walls are по longer standing) smaller domed rooms, including а kitchen. 
Across the large open central space from the entrance is the "Khan's seat".
Behind this to the right is а small room where there are two holes in the ground (one 10m deep but the other has been filled in over the course of time) - dungeons into which prisoners would be incarcerated. It is possible to wander through the warren of small rooms which would have housed the guests.
There are stories of а tunnel leading underthe hillside for some 100 metres from the building to а lookout post on the other side of the hill. Maybe one of the reasons it has retained its character is that it is set on the main road from Bishkek/Naryn to Torugart, but some 15 km up а side valley.
For many against the hillside. There is evidence that it was place of both rest and worship and would have served to protect caravans to and from China from both the ravages of the weather and of bandits - from before the time of either Tamerlaine or Genghis Khan.
The first description of Tash Rabat to reach the was provided by the Russian explorer Valihanov in 1859. One early report suggests that it was linked to frontier of the ancient settlement of Osh; another that it was built over 500 years ago for "charitable purposes; а third compares it to а cloister; а fourth to а mosque and another links it to the conquest of the Ferghana valley by Ulubek who used it as а temporary garrison for some of his troops.
Renovations were carried out in the 1980's - but are so unobtrusive that it is hard to detect the work. А centrally domed space is surrounded by some 30 or 31 (no-one seems to know exactly - the reason seems to be that some of the walls are по longer standing) smaller domed rooms, including а kitchen.
Across the large open central space from the entrance is the "Khan's seat", Behind this to the right is а small room where there are two holes in the ground (one 10m deep but the other has been filled in over the course of time) - dungeons into which prisoners would be incarcerated.
It is possible to wander through the warren of small rooms which would have housed the guests. There are stories of а tunnel leading under the hillside for some 100 metres from the building to а lookout post on the other side of the hill.
Maybe one of the reasons it has retained its character is that it is set on the main road from Bishkek/Naryn to Torugart, side valley. For many years the turn-off was not sign-posted and so travellers simply passed by unaware of what they were missing.
Leaving the asphalt road, vehicles have to take а gravel road along the valley of the Tash Rabstriver. The slopes are covered with а tussocky grass that gives the impression of courdroy and you see herds of horses and yaks, flocks of sheep and goats – and even the occasional camel grazing on the hillsides.
It is possible to camp in the valley and there are often yurts set up in the immediate neigh bourhood. The main road to Torugart trails around the end of the At- Bashi Mountain range via the Ak-Beyit pass but there is а track over the hills via the Tash-Rabat pass (3968 m) to Lake Chartyr Kul (just 8 km away) and views of the Chinese border. The trek takes about 4 hours (one way). 

General view on a caravanserai Tash-Rabat in the course of excavation.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Ущелье Таш-Рабат Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.Caravanserai Tash-Rabat and environs of the gorge.

Authority:
1966. Bernshtam A.N. «History-archeologic sketches Central Tien-Shan and Pamir-Alay». « Religious and spiritual monuments of the Central Asia ». The author of M. Khashimov. Publishing house " Saga ", 2001. «Issyk Kul. Naryn» Tthe encyclopedia, Frunze, 1991. "Kirghizia", publishing house "Idea ", Moscow, 1977. Knobloch, Edgar. 2001. Monuments of Central Asia. London: I.B. Tauris Publishers, Discovery Travel” Magazine. 

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.