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Kyrgyzstan: Tash Rabat

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Tash Rabat | Kyrgyzstan | Asia

[Visited: July 2010]

On my way to China from Kazakhstan, I definitely wanted to include a visit to the old caravanserai of Tash Rabat. It meant a very early rise and departure from Naryn, with brilliant blue skies above us. When we reached the turnoff to Tash Rabat, some clouds had appeared in the sky, but the weather was still fine. After the wide plain which we had been driving through, the narrow valley was a nice change. Surprisingly, we found several groups of yurts: Kyrgyz nomads who had set up tent for the summer season.

Picture of Tash Rabat (Kyrgyzstan): Old caravanserai Tash Rabat: frontal view

The rocky formations on both sides were hiding a view on what was lying behind them, making the drive through the valley one with unexpected turns. Quite soon, we reached a red-and-white barrier, and a cheerful Kyrgyz girl came out of a nearby yurt. After paying my entrance fee, I got a real ticket and the barrier was lifted. Shortly thereafter, we had reached our destination: Tash Rabat, a pretty, low building on our right. An older woman approached us, and after seeing my newly bought ticket, opened the gate of the old caravanserai.

Picture of Tash Rabat (Kyrgyzstan): Isolated valley of Tash Rabat

But I first wanted to walk around the building with its circular towers at the corners. When I reached the back of the caravanserai, I noticed it was possible to walk up to the roof, which proved to be covered by grass. At regular intervals, there were openings in the roof, providing fresh air and light to the caravanserai below. Once inside, I found that some of the corridors and chambers were pretty dark, but other parts were not. At the end of the building, I reached a circular hall with arches around: the former mosque. The entire building is built with grey stones, and was constructed not after the 15th century, although according to some, it started off as a monastery in the 10th century. As empty as it is now, it is hard to imagine that this place was once an important stopover for those traveling the Silk Road. For those travelers coming from the west, Tash Rabat was probably the last stop before reaching China. And since I was also on my way there, I had to leave the beautiful caravanserai behind.

Picture of Tash Rabat (Kyrgyzstan): View of the circular hall, in which the mosque was located, of the caravanserai Tash Rabat
Picture of Tash Rabat (Kyrgyzstan): Tash Rabat caravanserai
Picture of Tash Rabat (Kyrgyzstan): Side view of the caravanserai Tash Rabat
Picture of Tash Rabat (Kyrgyzstan): Rooftop view of Tash Rabat
Picture of Tash Rabat (Kyrgyzstan): One of the vaults inside the caravanserai Tash Rabat
Picture of Tash Rabat (Kyrgyzstan): Stoned arches inside Tash Rabat
Picture of Tash Rabat (Kyrgyzstan): Stoney interior of the caravanserai Tash Rabat

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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