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Legends about of Tash-Rabat.

Ethnographic and cultural tours in Kyrgyzstan.

“Legends are best left as legends and attempts to make them real are rarely successful” 

Michael Moorcock, Elric of Melniboné.

Travel advisory in Kyrgyzstan.

Tash-Rabat has no roof. About it there is such legend. In ancient times stone fortress was built by two masters: father and son. Long they worked in mountains, did not see people, not a nobility that occurs in the world.
And already when work came to an end by the end, and they had to construct stone bricks a roof, men saw the caravan moving on mountain tracks.
- The father, it is possible I will catch up with this caravan and I will look who there?
- Descend, the sonny, you did not see people long ago, talk to them, - the father resolved.
The young man escaped after a caravan, but did not return. He met the proud beauty there, fell in love with her and left together with her, having forgotten about the father and the mountain lock. And there is still Tash-Rabat without roof, reminding of mad love of the young master to the girl to the beauty.
Such is the characteristic of a monument on archival and to references. From messages of the previous researchers it is known that Tash-Rabat was considered at nomads for "an undoubted miracle" and was regarded as "supernatural".
The unusual image of the building generated a set of legends at the neighboring population. The belief which is written down by Ch. Ch. Valikhanov, A. Voytsekhovich and V. K. Zmiyevsky that the number of rooms in the building changes with each new account (exists and until now.
The national legends which are written down by travelers tell about its construction with various names and events and as it was noted by N. L. Zeland, are improbable and contradictory.
On the legend told by V. V. Bartold in "Sketches of history of Semirechya", the builder of the building the governor of the 16th century Abdullah khan, and in it "The report on a trip to Central Asia with the scientific purpose" is considered Mogulistan, the legend according to which Tash-Rabat is strengthening of Chinese, "intruded in this area from Ak-SU" is placed.
Against them fortress Koshoy-Korgon by the athlete Koshoy, legendary Manas associate was erected. A. Voytsekhovich article also to tell two legends. One of them following contents: "Long ago, long ago, there lived the khan who had two sons.
The khan of the equally loved sons and recognized clever and capable to inherit management of the khanate as he did not want to divide the state into two parts, and he did not know to which of sons to give preference, decided to test them, called for himself, declared it the following:
"My children! I love you early and I find worthy to operate the khanate, but I do not want to divide the state, and therefore here to you my decision: go in different directions, lodge between the people and decide that it is necessary for prosperity and happiness of the citizens".
Sons parted. There passed enough time. The senior, arrived at an idea that the power of the state consists in the armed force, began to build fortresses on khanate border. Constructed one near the city of Osh, and another - the described Tash Rabat.
Younger arrived differently. It found what can be reached much better development of agriculture, trade and the industry, improvement of life of citizens and distribution of literacy among them. The actions he deserved love of the people; at the same time also succeeded to the khanate throne".
The second legend narrates that the terrible flood in which all population except two pious father and the son died was sent to the inhabitants of this area who made angry god. In gratitude for rescue the father decided to build in the desert, near the city, the big building in a reminder to descendants about the grace of God.
The begun construction was interrupted with emergence fine the peer which entrained the son. Similar legends are provided also in A. M. Fetisov, V. V. Bartold and N. N. Pantusov works. The last at the same time notices:
"This legend is disproved by the fact that judging by all signs, the building it existed in absolutely ended look long time". Two more legends from N. N. Pantusov article "Tash-Rabat" tell about newcomers "from Rome".
In one case - it is Saints the father with the son who did not finish construction of the lock in another - "a religious brotherhood". "Back to that it is a lot of years when a Kyrgyz penalty were yet not devout, and worshipped fire, watering it with fat and making worship in front of the lamp, the clever person with people, to it on religion subordinates came to this region from Rome, the tribe of Arabs, and all of them practised not that religion what was at a Kyrgyz penalty.
As the mighty batyr, he together with the citizens also started construction of the unusual building which was built in a short space of time; having lodged in it, they began to learn the people living in this area and to shelter persons in need; after long times the chief prior disappeared somewhere, and other people are taken prisoner and taken away by the people approaching at that time from the West the East". N. N. Pantusov considered this legend plausible and assumed what in it is told about "newcomers Nestorians" which in Tash-Rabat founded the monastery.
In 1904 in "Notes about antiquities of the Semirechensky region" N. N. Pantusov according to Kyrgyz reports that Tash-Rabat constructed the Bukhara khan Abdylla during a campaign against Kalmyks. He banished Kalmyks from the won lands of Turkestan and, wishing to immortalize the name, on all way of gains "constructed 1001 Rabat:
Tash-Takyr in the Aulie-Atinsky County, towers snow-storms in Uzgen and Tokmchke, Tash-Rabat in the At-Bashi site and Kok-Rabat in the Kashgar province". Hundred years later the Kyrgyz who came back to the At-Bashi valley with the khan Urman at the head found Koshoy-Korgon abandoned by Kalmyks.
The batyr Koshoy who was on service of the Aulie-Atinsky khan of Manas and operated Kyrgyz from Tash Rabat to river of Tekes used the fortress of this. Near Tash Rabat was exposed to them the advanced guard post against the Kalmyks who are on that side of the Tian-Shaneky ridge.
Betrayal of the wife of Koshoya which transferred news to the enemy about small number of the Kyrgyz army promoted capture of fortress Koshoy-Korgon by kopalsky military leaders Dzholoyem and Konurbayem.
Thus, as it was already noticed by A. N. Bernshtam, in national memory, emergence Tash Rabat, unlike a number of the located Koshoy-Korgon (ancient settlement Atbash), does not contact activity of local population. V. V. Bartold sees the reason of discrepancy of stories about medieval constructions in the basin of the Naryn River in lack of information about Kyrgyz in this area to "Tarikh-i Rashidi".
According to the Chinese manuscript of 1770 of "Xiyu Zhi", Kyrgyz "escaping from disorders" appeared in Mountains Tien-Shan in the middle of the 15th century.

«Tash-Rabat». S.Ya. Peregudova.

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.