Articles on Central Asia: The Legend of Tash-Rabat

80 km from the village ofAt-Bashi and 18 km from the Torugart road, in a picturesque gorge of Kara-Koyum, there are the ruins of magnificent caravanserai Tash-Rabat — a monument of mediaeval architecture. Some stories about this stone building are preserved.

A long time ago a powerful Khan with two sons lived here. In spite of their age differences both sons made their father's heart happy and the old man did not know who to make his heir.

One day, the Khan called the elder son and told him:

“l am old and the day when power will come to you is quite close. But to die in peace I need to see what you are able to do.”

After some time the elder son came to his father again

‘‘Our khanate is rich and huge,” he started, “but it could be richer ”

Khan looked at his son in surprise, said nothing but prepared to listen further on.

 “Yes, richer,” the son repeated. “I could send the caravans with our goods to far countries and then invite merchants to come to us and permit the caravans to cross our lands. Also, I would build a caravanserai — a place for lodging and hospitality.”

“Well, let it be as you said.”

Soon the old Khan died. The elder son completed all the rites of the dead and went with a caravan to foreign lands. When he returned, he started to prepare to meet merchants from other countries and he decided to build a caravanserai that could stand for thousands of years. He gathered the most famous craftsmen from all the ends of his country and work began. They built the caravanserai for many years. At last it was built.

Everybody who saw it was amazed by its beauty and grandeur. The width of walls was greater than any fortress. The rooms were spacious and the main cupola hall had three arched niches.

The glory of Tash-Rabat was carried everywhere. Many merchants turned from their roads to Tash-Rabat to enjoy its hospitality.

The Khan became richer and so did his subordinates.

But then he died and his younger brother became Khan. He dreamed of different fame. Having gathered the detachment of soldiers he attacked peaceful caravans, robbed them and put all the treasures in the caravanserai.

Nobody knew how long it would continue, but neighbouring khans declared war on him.

Then the Khan with his soldiers hid in the caravanserai but the wide stonewalls did not help him. His enemies were stronger than him. The soldiers died, Khan died and only ruins were left from Tash-Rabat, as a silent reproach to the Khan-robber.

 

Tash-Rabat

Old people say it was built by a father and a son. They should have put the last stones on a cupola when they saw a caravan coming. The son gave up working and went to look who was coming. "Don't leave,” the father requested. “Let's finish then go." But the son did not listen. He left and never returned. That was because of a very beautiful girl riding with the caravan. So since then Tash-Rabat has had an unfinished roof.

 

 

 

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