The caravanserai sits high at the top of a hill in the valley of the same name, almost 3,500 m (11,483 ft) high. The Tash Rabat caravanserai, whose name in Kyrgyz means “stone fortress”, is located around 80 km (50 miles) from Torugart, a sino-Kyrgyz border post, and 90 km (56 miles) away from Naryn. This stone building, anchored in the history of the Silk Road, is one of the largest and best preserved buildings in Central Asia.
It is difficult to determine the date of its construction, although some historians have made assumptions that it was built in the 10th century by Christians, as a monastery, before becoming a caravanserai. For others, Tash Rabat dates from the 15th century, and was probably a place to stop and spend the night for tradesmen and travelers of the Silk Road.
Many legends are associated with the origins of Tash Rabat. One of them says that a king wanted to decide who of his two sons would be his heir. The elder son helped his people, whereas the youngest and more ambitious son gathered an army and built several fortresses, including Tash Rabat.
The structure of this stone fortress is 20 m (66 ft) high, with a dome in its center. The main room provides access to 30 other rooms, that once housed travelers. You will also see a dungeon and a well.
To get to Tash Rabat, take a taxi from Naryn or At-Bashy. You can sleep in a yurt put up by the nomad families who spend the warm months in the valley with their cattle. It’s also an ideal destination for treks, on foot or on horseback. You’ll be able, for example, to hike to the splendid Chatyr Kul Lake.