Sulayman Mountain

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Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain
UNESCO World Heritage site
Osh 03-2016 img06 Sulayman Mountain.jpg
Location Kyrgyzstan
Criteria Cultural: (iii), (vi)
Reference 1230rev
Inscription 2009 (33rd Session)
Area 112 ha (280 acres)
Buffer zone 4,788 ha (11,830 acres)
Coordinates 40°31′52″N 72°46′58″E / 40.53111°N 72.78278°E / 40.53111; 72.78278Coordinates: 40°31′52″N 72°46′58″E / 40.53111°N 72.78278°E / 40.53111; 72.78278
Sulayman Mountain is located in Kyrgyzstan
Sulayman Mountain
Location of Sulayman Mountain in Kyrgyzstan.
View of the mountain from the city of Osh.

The Sulayman Mountain (also known as Taht-I-Suleiman, Sulayman Rock or Sulayman Throne) is the only World Heritage Site located entirely in the country of Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan shares the Tian-Shan Silk Road Site with China and Kazakhstan).[1] It is located in the city of Osh and was once a major place of Muslim and pre-Muslim pilgrimage. The rock rises abruptly from the surrounding plains of the Fergana Valley and is a popular place among locals and visitors, with a splendid view.(See List of World Heritage Sites in Kyrgyzstan)

Rock formations at the top of Sulayman Mountain

This mountain is thought by some researchers and historians to be the famous landmark of antiquity known as the “Stone Tower”, which Claudius Ptolemy wrote about in his famous work Geography. It marked the midpoint on the ancient Silk Road, the overland trade route taken by caravans between Europe and Asia.[2]

Sulayman (Solomon) is a prophet in the Qur'an, and the mountain contains a shrine that supposedly marks his grave. Women who ascend to the shrine on top and crawl though an opening across the holy rock will, according to legend, give birth to healthy children. The trees and bushes on the mountain are draped with numerous "prayer flags", small pieces of cloth that are tied to them.

According to the UNESCO, the mountain is "the most complete example of a sacred mountain anywhere in Central Asia, worshipped over several millennia".[3] The site is still a popular place for local Muslims, with stairs leading up to the highest peak where there stands a small mosque originally built by Babur in 1510. Much of the mosque was reconstructed in the late 20th century.

The rock also contains the National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex Sulayman that was built during the Soviet era, showing archaeological findings from the area and its history. The lower slope of the mountain is surrounded by a cemetery.