This work of architecture tells us about another time, when Central Asia was crossed by a flourishing Silk Road that did not it was only used to transport that textile product, but it was also a way to transmit culture between East and West, between China and Venice, passing through places like Samarkand or Istanbul. A route that today preserves a unique historical and artistic heritage located sometimes in the most remote locations, as is the case of this Tash Rabat Caravanserai located in the current republic ofKyrgyzstan, a territory that until a few decades ago was part of the extinct USSR, in fact it was the Russians who partially restored and excavated this unique monument in the 80s of the last century.
Tash Rabat Caravanserai
What was a caravanserai? It was a kind of hostel or hotel for all those merchants who traveled the Silk Road. Here they found accommodation, food, rested animals, etc. And they needed it because we are in an area that is well over 3,000 meters high, with tiring steps between mountains and harsh weather conditions. And in this step close to the current border of China, this monument, due to its dimensions and shape, is exceptional. In fact, it is considered one of the most incredible stone constructions in Central Asia.
The vast majorityMany historians date it to the 15th century, although other scholars think it may be older, from around the 10th century when a monastery was built here. On the other hand, the archaeological evidence has not given many signs of religiosity, although on the contrary, the typical central courtyard that is usually found in caravanserais is not seen either. It is true that due to the remoteness of the place there is not much documentation and also there are still unexcavated parts. Still, the most logical thing would be for it to be a commercial stop on the busy Silk Road.
Its floor plan is practically square, about 35 meters on each side, and it may seem like a castle due to its thick stone walls at a more or less identical height throughout its length, so everything has a horizontal roof. Except for the hemispherical dome in the western part, at the end opposite the entrance to the enclosure.
The construction blends wonderfully into the surroundings and is partially buried in the hillsides. In fact, inside it is a real labyrinth of rooms, where the windows are usually on the ceiling to illuminate the whole. These rooms, about thirty, are elongated and not very large, except for the domed space, which is larger. It may seem like a crude work compared to other constructions in the world that were being built in the fifteenth century, but given the place where it is located, it is really interesting and worthy of admiration. And of course it even has its own legend. Taking advantage of that dome with openings for light to enter, the legend says that this is because they built ittwo men, father and son, and just before finishing the dome, with only a few stones missing, the son saw the first caravan that arrived and distinguished a beautiful girl, which is why he got off the construction site to woo the girl, so that the dome was left unfinished. Something that is not true, since it is a finished work, otherwise it would have been impossible for it to withstand the passing of the centuries.