Traces of Christianity along the Silk Road

Burana Tower is an 11th century minaret that was restored by the Soviets in 1950s.

I climbed up

And then down.

Kyrgy001736There is very little remaining of the ancient citadel founded by the Sogdians. However the site yielded a treasure of Scythian artifacts. What caught my attention were 11th century Christian carvings and crosses. Most people are unaware of the vigorous Christian missionary expansion along the Silk Road.

On the grounds of the tower the Scythians installed 6th- to 10th-century balbals that is Turkic totem-like stone markers.

This balbal is holding a teacup.

The Krygyz migrated in the 10th to 15th century from Siberia and arrived by way of Lake Issyk Kul. It was also the center of the Scythian civilisation.

The lake was also used by the Soviets for the testing of high-precision torpedoes. This military complex was shut down in 1991 and the lake was converted into a resort area.

Near the town is a large field of glacier boulders with pictures scratched into them.

Some of these petroglyphs date from the later Bronze age, about 1500 BC.

But most are from 8th century BC to 1st century AD therefore predate the arrival of the Kyrgyz people.

The local museum houses a small collection of archeological finds of local Scythian gold jewelry

And gravestones.

Kyrgy005300 The next day was devoted to hiking in the Grigorevskoe Gorge with its beautiful landscape.
Kyrgy000121

In the valley were trees with small ribbons tied around the branches. Muslims tie small ribbons and make wishes as they do so with the hope that their wish comes true.

The shepherds bring their animals to graze in the summer months to graze then return to the villages with their flocks in the winter

The valley is well travelled.

This long hike was very quiet and restful and gave me time to reflect on all that I have experienced in Central Asia.

Along the road were many Muslim cemeteries. My guide said they were places where travellers and pilgrims often took refuge.

Since the graves offered shelter the Muslim pilgrim would prayer for the soul of the deceased and as the guide said the prayers would help purify the soul of the deceased.