Kyrgyz Legend: Tash-Rabat Caravanserai

Caravanserai Tash-Rabat

In ancient times there lived a powerful khan, who had two sons. Despite the difference in years, both pleased their father’s heart, and the old man did not know whom to give preference to.

Once, the khan called his eldest son and told him:

– I am already old, and the day is not far off when the power in the khanate will completely pass to you. But so that I can die quietly, show, my son, what you are capable of.

Some time passed, the eldest son came to his father.

“Our khanate is great and rich,” he began, “but it could have been even richer.”

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

“Yes, even richer,” the son repeated. I would equip caravans of our goods to foreign lands, and then I would invite merchants to come to us. Let caravans pass through our land. And I would also build a caravanserai in which everyone would find shelter and hospitality.

“Well then, be it your way.”

Soon, the old khan died. The eldest son gave all the honors to the deceased and went with a caravan to foreign lands, and when he returned, he began to prepare for a meeting of merchants from other lands.

He planned to build a caravanserai that would stand for a thousand years. He gathered from all over his country the most famous masters, and work began. For many years a stone caravanserai was erected. And finally, it was built. Everyone who saw him, he was struck by his beauty and grandeur. The width of the walls was no less than any fortress, the rooms were spacious, and the main domed hall had three vaulted niches.

The fame of Tash-Rabat – the so-called caravanserai, spread everywhere. Many merchants turned off from other roads to Tash-Rabat, to enjoy his hospitality.

Every year the khan became more and more wealthy, and his subjects had something in common.

But then he died, and his younger brother became khan. He had long dreamed of another glory. Gathering a detachment of soldiers, he attacked civilian caravans, robbed them, and in the caravanserai, he stole the loot.

It is not known how long this would continue, but the neighboring khans went to war with him.

The khan sat with his soldiers in a caravanserai, but the thick stone walls did not help him. His opponent turned out to be stronger. Warriors died, the khan himself died, and only ruins remained from Tash-Rabat, like a dumb reproach to the khan-robber.

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