Silk Roads Sites in Kyrgyzstan

Date of Submission: 19/02/2010
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)(v)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
National Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic for UNESCO
Ref.: 5518



Name of property

State, Province or Region

Area (ha)

Geographic (lat/long) or UTM Coordinates of approximate centre point


Nomadic Monuments of Inner Tien Shan

Kyrgyzstan, Inner Tien Shan, Naryn oblast

Koshoi- Korgon- 55,6

Tash-Rabat-28,5 Manakeldy-31,8 Shyrdakbek - 38,3

Koshoi- Korgon-

41" 7' 24, 83 N

75" 41' 59, 63 E


40"49'21, 91N

75"17'20, 74

Manakeldy, Shyrdakbek




42" 09' 45.8N

75" 50' 19.9E



Sites of the southern Issyk Kul

Kyrgyzstan, Issyk Kul oblast


Tosor- 9

Khan Dobo- 30


44" 50' 00.2 N

78" 22' 26.9 E



Medieval sites in the Upper Chui Valley: Navikat (Krasnaya Rechka), Suyab (Ak Beshim) and Balasagyn (Burana)

Kyrgyzstan, Chui oblast

Krasnaya Rechka - 450

Ak Beshim -150 Burana -130

UTM zone 43T. E05.....


Krasnaya Rechka

E : 01233.000

N : 51075.000, H: 745.000

Ak Beshim

E: 16629.000

N: 38855.000, H: 815.000


E: 20493.908

N: 32720.877, H: 940.966


Cultural Environment of Manas Ordo

Kyrgyzstan, Talas oblast


Karool Choku

42" 31' 94 N

72" 23'07 Е


Cultural Landscape of Safid Bulan

Kyrgyzstan, Djalal Abat oblast


Shakh Fazil mausoleum

41" 27' 56 N

71" 37' 08 O


Uzgen and Shorobashat sites

Kyrgyzstan, Osh oblast

Uzgen-72,5 Shorobashat -70

Uzgen site

40" 45' 27 N

73" 19' 31 O

Kyrgyzstan is one of the countries occupying a zone of early contacts. In the south and in the north of the country Silk Road is represented by various sections which are well expressed and marked by important monuments of history and culture.

Northern (Fergana) road which was actively used in early Han times, especially with Davan,  had special value in antiquity. Considerable part of this road passed within modern administrative borders of southern Kyrgyzstan occupying foothill areas of east, southeast, southwest and northwest of Fergana. The direction looked as follows: from Kashgar through Terek-Davan pass, to Alay valley, along Gulcha river and its inflows, went to Tar, then to Kara-Darya river, and to Uzgen city (where the most eastern city of Davan - Ju-chen is usually localised), then turned to the Osh oasis, and then went to the West (to capital Ershi) and to the North Kanguy. It is considered, that Zhang Qian passed this road in 138 BC. This part of the road is well marked by different sites, especially for Muslim time when it was described in guidebooks as a transit corridor with two branches: i) through Osh - Medva (Mady) to the south in Alai valley and further through Terek-Davan to Kashgar; ii) from Osh to Uzgen, further through mountain passes, to the valleys of inner Tien-Shan and then split near At-Bashi, in two branches, first went through Tash-Rabat and Torugart passes to Kashgar, and the second - to the southern coast of Issyk Kul, through Bedel pass to Aksuu. Local parts of this route served other areas of Fergana, in particular, the northeast of the valley, where through Chanach pass (Chatkal ridge) and Kara Buura pass (Talas Ala-Too) connected with routes across northeastern territories. It is considered, that these passages were already known in antiquity, by virtue of which intensive contacts of Hans with Semirechie, particularly, with Chui and Talas valleys, Issyk Kul took place.

In II-IV centuries AD the road through Bedel pass and southern Issyk Kul was  already in regular use. It became very active in the early Middle Ages when due to the civil strife in Fergana, caravans began to prefer this way to Fergana branch. Besides, the important factor in favor of this way was the location  in Semirechie of quarters of Turkic kagans, main consumers of the various prestigious goods, who patronised trade on the Central Asian part of the Silk Road. Variety of medieval sites of ancient settlements of Issyk Kul region, Chui and Talas valleys is connected with this epoch, where the Silk Road played important role in genesis and functioning. During Muslim time the whole territory of Kyrgyzstan was practically pierced by various parts of separate branches of the Silk Road. In the north of the country the Semirechensko-South Kazakhstan piece was still actively operating, Inner Tien Shan was involved in the Silk Road, functioning of the Fergana branch was not less intensive. Thus, for Kyrgyzstan these parts of the Silk Road, representing also three chronological periods (antiquity, early to late Middle Ages) were in priority. Political, military and economic events of XIII centuries AD considerably reduced functioning of the above described parts of the Silk Road, a certain revival came in connection with Timur's and his descendants' political and military activities. However use of routes on various parts of the Silk Road continued till modern age.

Proposed 6 series will make the first stage of the nomination process; Silk Road sites of high-mountainous Alai, Chon - Alai, Chatkal valley, and Southwestern Fergana will be nominated at a later stage.

1. Name of individual Silk Roads component property: Nomadic Monuments of Inner Tien Shan

Brief description of the component property:

These series represent cultural heritage of high-mountainous region of Kyrgyzstan located in the north of the country. First of all, these are monuments of tangible culture of the nomadic population, represented by grave and funeral complexes, rock carvings and epigraphics, dated from last centuries BC to XVIII centuries AD inclusive. Kochkor valley, called Yarysh in the Middle Ages, is identified with the reserved zone of Turkic kagans, mentioned in the written sources of early Middle Ages. Images of horsemen-soldiers with falcons, accompanied with ancient Turkic inscriptions (24 pieces) and tribal tamgas (symbol) can be seen on separate boulders (1 to 3 m height) in the Kara Too mountain ridge, in the southeast of the valley. Turkic stone grave enclosures with gravestones were found in the same area. Kyrgyz necropolises, vivid example of which is Kyrk-Choro complex near the Kum-Aryk village, have also doubtless value.  Natural mazars (sacred places) tell about elements of archaic beliefs and people's ecological culture, later adapted for Islam, in particular, sacral mountains of Kochkor-Ata in Kochkor and Chesh-Tobe in At-Bashy areas. One more type of monuments of this region is quarters of medieval nomadic rulers: sites of Koshoj-Korgon and Shirdakbek settlements. Koshoj-Korgon, located in the centre of the high-mountainous At-Bashy valley, at the altitude of 2500 m, is a square construction with the sides 250 х 245 m long. Walls are made of paksa and mud blocks (remained height from 4 to 8 m). The structure is surrounded by a ditch, from 11 to 14 m in width. Excavations revealed remains of inhabited and manufacture constructions inside the settlement, as well as outside. It is identified with the medieval historical city of At-Bash, which mainly functioned in IX-XII centuries AD, but was also live in Timur's times.

Shyrdakbek site is also qualified as a quarter of local nomadic rulers, is located to the southwest from At-Bashi, in Ak-Talaa area, in the Valley of Ala Buka river. Lay-out and building materials are similar to the previous monument; its sizes are 120х117 m, width of walls is 6 m, remained height is about 6 m, construction is surrounded by a ditch. Square adobe construction is located separately in 0, 5 km to the south. Limited excavations revealed traces of craft and agriculture. Period of functioning is from IX to the beginning of XIII centuries AD. It is identified with the historical city of Kadzhingar-Bashi.

Another type of the monuments located on the Tien Shan branch of the Silk Road is caravans-sarays. Two sites have preserved: Tash-Rabat and Manakeldy (Chaldyvar). Tash-Rabat is located in the western part of the At-Bashy valley, on the small river of Kara Koyun, at the altitude of 3200 m. Square construction, with the length of external perimeter of walls 32,4х34,8 by 32,4х35,1 m, is made of slate plates. Facade, decorated with towers, is turned to the east. Internal lay-out consists of the central corridor, the square hall and a number of premises ceiled with the big dome and 19 domes of small diameter. It was constructed in Karahanid times, in XI-XII centuries AD; functioned till Timur's time and served as caravan-saray for the routes going to Kashgar through Tash-Rabat and Torugart passes. Manakeldy is located in Ak-Talaa area, at the altitude of 2500 m, on the bank of Ala Buka river inflow. It is a square construction, with the sizes 64х64 m, maid of mud bricks and pakhsa. Entrance was in the centre of the northern wall, limited by two rectangular towers-pylons. Other corners and walls of the construction were fortified by towers, and the front northern wall was decorated by a half goffers. The internal lay-out had the following appearance: two lines of corridors along the walls and square and rectangular premises between the corridors. Adobe feeding troughs for animals were traced in different places of the external corridor. A court yard occupied the centre of the construction. Casing and domes were applied for ceilings. The caravan-saray provided services for travelers of the route from Fergana valley to areas of inner Tien-Shan and Issyk Kul. Main period of functioning is X-XII centuries AD.

Natural climatic conditions of the region, suitable for cattle breeding, dictate preservation of many components of a traditional way of life of mountain nomads. It is specific cuisine with specific processing of products, crafts from manufacturing of yurtas to felt and jewelery. The technology of felt and felt products manufacturing is not only remained, but also develops, having turned into a separate industry of arts and crafts. Traditions of the leather processing and manufacturing of leather products are not forgotten. Forms, methods and skills of traditional hunting, including hunting with the Kyrgyz hounds and falcons have remained, too. Traditional land tenure: djailoo - summer pastures and kyshtoo - winter station has remained, too. Other kinds of intangible heritage: toponymics, Sanjyra (oral transfer of genealogy), art of story tellers, ceremonial songs, national games, - demonstrate a traditional way of life of the Tien Shan nomads.

Statement of authenticity and/or integrity of the individual component property:

Basic sites-components of these series are in the State Lists of monuments of national and local importance. Those monuments and settlements which are in a zone of economic activities are affected by development factors. It concerns Kyrk-Choro necropolis which was used for burials of later periods. Petroglyph site with runic inscriptions to the south from Kara Suu village and burial complex Kok-Sai are in a satisfactory condition. Cult places - sacral mountains Kochkor-Ata and Chesh-Tobe are under the protection of local communities. Sites of Koshoj-Korgon, Shyrdakbek, Cholok-Korgon, caravan-sarays Tash-Rabat and Manakeldy are in quite good condition; however state of adobe walls is not stable. Especially for Koshoj-Korgon, where some parts of defensive walls are affected by natural and anthropogenic factors. A site museum, constructed in 2007, is intended not only for exhibiting of materials from the site, but also for its protection and preservation. The limited erosion of adobe structures at Shyrdakbek and Manakeldy sites is detected. Restoration works at Tash-Rabat were carried out in the late seventies of the last century. As a whole, sites of these series have kept authenticity and integrity. In the framework of the new National Program on Research, Preservation and Use of Monuments of Historical and Cultural Heritage, which is being developed, the priority will be given to the monuments of the remote regions, including Inner Tien Shan.

Comparison of the Silk Roads component property with other similar properties, whether on the Silk Roads or not, and the reasons that make the property stand out:

Specificity of this part of the Silk Road is that it served high-mountainous and a remote zone to a certain extent occupied by nomads. This territory was occupied by the settled population, which has laid a way from east Fergana to the mountainous valleys of Tien-Shan in the early Middle Ages. Process of sedentarization of the local population and urbanization of the region began late, since X century. As a whole, comparison is possible only with those parts of the Silk Road, which are in similar natural conditions that are in high-mountainous regions, e.g. Alai, Chon-Alai, Karategin, and Pamir.

2. Name of individual Silk Roads component property: Sites of the Southern Issyk Kul

Brief description of the component property:

This part of the Silk Road, actively functioning throughout all Middle Ages, is known as "Hsuan-Tsang's road", the pilgrim, who passed it in 629 AD. The Chinese records describe this branch from east to west, Arabic and Persian - from west to east. Traditionally, it is considered that it went through Bedel, Seok passes, Ara Bel valley, Sary-Moinok, Barskoon passes, through Barskoon valley and to the southern coast of the lake, then along the southwestern coast went to the West and through Boom gorge passed to the Chui valley. This part of the route is traced by a range of sites and settlements, which are identified with historical cities of the area of Upper Barshan. Site of Barskoon 2 is located in the heart of gorge, on the right terrace above the floodplain. It has square form with sides 60 x 60m, oriented to cardinal points. Semicircular towers were traced in the corners and in the centre of southern, western and northern walls; entrance was in the centre of the eastern wall. The site functioned as a fortress protecting entrance and exit from gorge and accordingly, the part of the route going through Barskoon and Bedel passes to the area of Aksuu. Excavations are carried out in the middle of 20th century; the settlement is dated from the early Middle Ages till XII centuries AD. To the west of this site, in the natural boundary of Tamga, in 2 km to the south of the settlement Tamga, there are three stones with the Tibetan inscriptions containing the formula "Ohm mani padme hum"; dated back to Jungar times, XV-XVIII centuries AD. Burial ground of Turkic time (funeral and burial sites with stone sculptures) is located on a floodplain terrace. According to some researchers, places with Buddhist epigraphics, mark use of Silk Road caravan routes, known from the early and late Middle Ages, by pilgrims to Tibet. Now, the local Kyrgyz population considers this site as a mazar - a sacred place. On the coast, there is the Tosor site on the route, which served as a fortress between two large cities of the area: Barshan and Ton (Тun, Dun). It is on the western end of Tosor village, in 200 m to the north from Balykchi-Karakol road. It has square form with sides 100х100m, oriented to cardinal points. Semicircular towers were traced in the corners and on the walls. L-shaped entrance is located in the centre of the eastern wall and, the eastern side of the entrance is strengthened by a tower. The topography of the site and materials of excavation of 1960s made a basis for its dating as Karahanid time. City of Dun is identified with Khan-Dobo or Ton settlement, located on the left floodplain terrace of the river Ton, in the entrance to the gorge. It consists of the central ruins and the territory surrounded with two long walls. The citadel has the form of the truncated cone with sides in the basis of 60х60m, with the height of more than 10 m. A platform, limited with low walls, which served as a court yard for the citadel adjoins its northern side. The surrounding area has traces of numerous constructions in the form of mounds of various forms and stone basements of constructions. The Central part is surrounded by a wall with numerous towers in distance of 40-50 m from each other, 12-15 m projecting from the side of the wall, height of the wall is 3-5 m, width in the basis is 10-12 m. Western and northern walls are well traced where entrances to the city are located. The greatest length of the central part of the site makes 600 m, width is 500 m. Functioning of the central part is dated back from VII to XII centuries AD, the second part of the site adjoins the main site from the south, the east and the north, is surrounded by a ring of walls with towers. Height of the wall is 2-3 m; width in the basis is 10-15 m. Traces of constructions and cultural layers are detected inside the walls.  River Tuura-Suu flows through the territory of this part of the site. Adjoining third part of the site is also surrounded with a ring of wall, constructed on the edge of a floodplain terraces of the river Ton. Small settlements are detected in the vicinity of the site; there are some settlements deeper in a gorge, in the direction to Ton pass, which was on the way connecting Issyk-Kul with Tien Shan and Fergana. Remains of the defensive wall indicating western border of the territory of the Upper Barshan in X-XII centuries AD is another site of the time of intensive functioning of the Silk Road in this area. It is located on the left bank of the river Ton, to the south from Balykchi-Karakol road, in the cemetery. From Ton to the West the road went along the lake coast, through a number of settlements, some of them have occupation layers of the early Middle Ages, but mainly they functioned in Karahanid period. Transit to Chui valley was made through Boom gorge.

Statement of authenticity and/or integrity of the individual component property:

Sites-components of these series are in the State Lists of monuments of national and local importance. These monuments and settlements are in a zone of active economic development and are affected by development factors. The present state of sites demonstrates their topography, constructive features and thickness of the occupation layer. The material collection is stored at the State Historical Museum in Bishkek. Local administrations are in charge of the legal and physical protection at the local level, the Agency for Culture on national level.

Comparison of the Silk Road component property with other similar properties, whether on the Silk Road or not, and the reasons that make the property stand out: Topography of a number of large sites of southern Issyk Kul has similarities with the sites of Chui and Talas valleys. Natives of the West Central Asia considerably contributed to the development of medieval cities of Chui and Talas, first of all, Sogdians, however emergence of a settled agricultural life in Issyk - Kul was a result of economic and cultural development of local tribes. Comparison with medieval cities of the neighboring Ili valley, in particular, with Talkhir, both in topography, and in ethnic structure (presented by descendants of Usun tribes and Turkic Karluks), is possible. Compare to other regions of the Central Asia (Fergana, Sogd, Ustrushan, etc) later urbanization of the region can be noted.

3. Name of individual Silk Roads component properties: Medieval sites in the Upper Chui Valley: Navikat (Krasnaya Rechka), Suyab (Ak Beshim) and Balasagyn (Burana)

Brief description of the component property: (If additional criteria are proposed, these criteria should be justified.) All three sites are located along the important branch of the Silk Road, which basically was functioning in the early and late Middle Ages (from VI - beginning of XIII centuries AD) and served sub-regions of Semirechie, Issyk Kul, and southern Kazakhstan.

The main towns of the valley, Navikat (today Krasnaya Rechka), Suyab (Ak Beshim) and Balasagyn (Burana), were founded during the 6th century AD, later developing significantly and becoming unique centres of symbiosis between Indian, Chinese, Sogdian and Turkic cultures, as well as a connecting link between these civilizations thanks to their positions on the Northern Silk Roads. Peoples from India, Sogd, Syria, Persia, China and the northern steppes settled in the towns, each bringing with them their own religious and cultural traditions. Navikat, and the other towns of the Chui Valley, are mentioned in records left by the Chinese pilgrim Hsuan Tsang, who visited the area in around 620 AD.

Under the Western Turkic and Turgesh Khanates of 560-760 AD, the segment of the Chui Valley situated between Bishkek and Lake Issyk-Kul (40km east of Bishkek) became one of the main political, economic and military centres in Eurasia, connected with Byzantium and China by the Northern Silk Roads. Archaeological excavations carried out in the Chui Valley between 1940 and 2000 discovered towns and monumental constructions dating from the 5th to 12th centuries that reflected the cultural and artistic traditions of many countries and peoples, from Byzantium in the west to India in the south and China in the east.

The town of Krasnaya Rechka (Navikat) has long been one of the most important of all the urban settlements in the Chui Valley and in the Tien-Shan region. Archaeological excavations in and around the town have revealed a Zoroastrian fire altar and grave site in the western suburbs, Nestorian Christian votive stones in the citadel and two Buddhist temples south of the town walls. Blend of Turkic, Indian, Sogdian and Chinese cultures can be seen in the materials used in both the religious and civil buildings, constituting a fascinating expression of regional cultural dialogue. Among the early mediaeval Buddhist buildings that have been excavated in the Chui Valley, the second Buddhist temple of Navikat (Krasnaya Rechka) is the only one that has been well preserved.

Ak-Beshim was one of the most important cities in Chui valley. Its remnants are located south of the Chui river and south of present day city of Tokmak, 50 km to the East of Bishkek. According to Chinese and Arab-Persian sources the town is identified as well-known Suyab Town. The city displayed 3 areas. The Shakhristan was nearly rectangular, surrounded by massive walls and measured 35 ha.  The southwest corner was marked by the citadel. In the east was a suburb, the rabad area with less massive walls, covering 60ha. An even wider area to the south and the west was protected by a minor wall. To the north the city was bordered by a side branch of the Chui. City walls and buildings were earthen constructions.

In 1953-54 archaeologist L.R. Kizlasov excavated several structures. Of these structures almost nothing is left above ground. Two of these excavated structures were Buddhist Temple 1 (B1), situated at 200m south-southwest of the citadel, and a second Buddhist temple 400m east of B1 and a castle.

The Christian Church with necropolis of VIII centuries AD was excavated in the east of Shakhristan. It is one of the most ancient Christian constructions in Central Asia. The archeological and architectural analysis allows proving that there was a considerable influence of the Asian style (X-shaped plan, domed roof) in its architecture, i.e. open yard instead of a nave, pakhsa was used as a building material, and etc. In the South-Eastern corner of Shakhristan, Complex of Christian Churches of Х-ХI centuries was excavated in 1996-1998. This complex is located in 10-15 meters far from outer wall and consists of four (?) churches with cross - shaped bema and large hall or court yard in front of them. There are some utilities and living rooms in the North and West.

Burana site is situated 2,5km east of Donarik village. Burana - remains of Balasagun is one of the largest medieval cities in Chui valley in Kyrgyzstan. Established in the 10th century on the site of an older settlement. Along with Kashgar, Balasagun was one of the capitals of the Eastern Khanate after the Karakhanid state split up. It was saved from destruction by Genghis Khan's Mongols, and was renamed Gobalik (= «good city») in the 13th century, but the city lost its importance and had disappeared by the 15th century.

There were major archaeological surveys of the site in the 1920s, 1950s and 1970s. The archaeologists discovered that the town had a complicated layout covering some 25-30 square kilometers. There were ruins of a central fortress, some handicraft shops, bazaars, four religious buildings, domestic dwellings, a bathhouse, a plot of arable land and a water main (pipes delivering water from a nearby canyon). Two circles of walls surrounded the town. Although the Karakhanids, practiced Islam, they were tolerant of other religions and there are many examples of early Christian (Nestorian) inscriptions. Burana museum and Kyrgyz state historical museum has some Nestorian grave stones.

Statement of authenticity and/or integrity of the individual component property:

Sites-components of these series are in the State List of monuments of national importance. These settlements are in a zone of active economic development and affected by development factors. Irrigation channels, roads, arable and grazing lands are the main damaging factors, as the sites are surrounded by villages, agricultural farms and fields. Burana site is managed by the onsite museum.  Construction of onsite museum at Ak-Beshim is being discussed. Protective zoning was carried out for these three sites. UNESCO/JFIT Project for the Chui Valley archaeological sites in Kyrgyzstan besides the preservation of three important archaeological sites, documentation and research has succeeded in a sufficient number of Kyrgyz specialists being trained during the implementation period.

Comparison of the Silk Roads component property with other similar properties, whether on the Silk Roads or not, and the reasons that make the property stand out:

The vestiges of early mediaeval Buddhism in Central Asia, such as at the Buddhist sites of East Turkestan (Chinese Xinjiang) and Afghanistan, are well known. However, much less well known are the Buddhist sites in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan (Semirechie), which have been more recently discovered. In particular, the Buddhist monuments of the Chui Valley are of special historical and cultural value, having been built in these countries' Turk-Sogdian towns under Chinese rule and representing the confluence of Eastern (Chinese and Eastern Turkic) and Southern (Gandharian and Tokharian) Buddhist traditions.

4. Name of Silk Roads component: Cultural Environment of Manas Ordo

Brief description of the component:

Sites of these series are located in the northwest of the country, in the upper Talas valley, on the right bank of the river Kenkol, inflow of Talas river, in the entrance of the Kenkol gorge. They were connected with the Silk Road branch, serving sub-region of Semirechie and South Kazakhstan in the Middle Ages. The series consists of monuments of tangible and intangible heritage on the territory of Manas-Ordo complex and its vicinity. The first group includes archaeological monuments of different historical epoch:

- barrows of the well-known Kenkol burial ground (end of the I-st millennia BC - first half of the I-st millenia AD) connected with Huns and entitled the whole archaeological culture of the region; Rich archaeological material, including number of finds of silk clothes, demonstrate communications with the various historical and cultural regions located along the Silk Road.

- petroglyphs, located near to the burial ground which repertoire reflects an economic-ceremonial life of the nomadic population, dated from the same epoch.

- architectural monument - mausoleum of XIV century AD, a single-chamber cube-shaped construction; ceiling with two domes: internal dome of spherical form and external - ribbed peaked roof. Ornamented portal is in the southern wall. The mausoleum belonged to one of Chagatai princesses, but Kyrgyz people traditionally connect it with the Kyrgyz epic hero Manas.

- Muslim cemetery of the late Middle Ages which was functioning until the end 60th of XX century.

Kenkol gorge is rich in different types of nomadic monuments dated from the early Iron Age to XVIII centuries AD inclusive. Petroglyphs and barrows make considerable part. Ancient Turkic runic inscriptions were also detected. In 4 km to the northwest there is one of the largest medieval sites of the valley - Ak-Tobe (Talassky), identified with Tekabket which is known in written sources as a city at the mountains with silver mines. The intangible cultural heritage is presented by various rituals and the ceremonies connected with initiation of Manaschy-storyteller of national epos Manas, and also with different pre-Islamic beliefs - Shamanizm, often presented by women, cults of trees, waters, mountains, fertility, animal-worship, including ant heaps worship. Throughout long time traditional form of land tenure, i.e. use of summer pastures - djailoo in Kenkol gorge, has not changed. It is important that the epos "Manas" remains an active social factor and its influence to the modern Kyrgyz society is huge. The sites of these series demonstrate economic, trading and cultural exchanges both on regional, and on international levels.

Statement of authenticity and/or integrity of the individual component :

the State system of preservation of cultural and natural heritage of Manas-Ordo is very effective, that is because of two reasons: value of this complex in a spiritual life of Kyrgyz people;  high status of protection - the site is directly subordinate to the Government of KR. Integrity of the Kenkol burial site was affected by stadium building, however the significant amount of barrows has still remained. Petroglyph sites are well preserved; preservation and presentation activities are ongoing. Restoration of the mausoleum of XIV century was done repeatedly throughout XX century. Present state is stable. Natural sites: sacred springs, trees, bushes, part of the river Kenkol limiting sacral territory from the north, ant heaps, Mountain, pilgrim's routes are in a good condition. Manas-Ordo is an example of successful interaction of the state system of preservation and management and the traditional mechanisms of protection. Documentation activities at the complex and its vicinity and development of the   protection zones are being finished.

Comparison of the Silk Roads component with other similar properties, whether on the Silk Roads or not, and the reasons that make the property stand out: Part of the branch, which leads into upper Talas valley is an indissoluble part of the route lying through Talas valley, to the South Kazakhstan, Chach and further. This route actively functioned in the Middle Ages. However, written sources say, that pass through the Kara-Buura gorge functioned in antiquity, through the pass in Talas Ala-Too to Chatkal, and therefrom to northeast Fergana. The part of the Chinese troops sent to suppress Hun's leader Chzhi-Chzhi in 36 BC, whose quarter was in the upper Talas, took this route. In earlier middle ages in this zone the centres of the settled and city culture were formed along the route. Topography and constructive features of the settlements have similarities with cities and settlements of the neighboring sub-regions - the Chui valley, Issyk Kul. In IX-XII centuries the upper and middle parts of the valley are called in written sources the ore area Sheldzi. It was one of the main suppliers of silver in the Muslim world, along with Chach and Chatkal valley.

5. Name of Silk Roads component: Cultural Landscape of Safid Bulan

Brief description of the component:

The sites making these series, are located on the northeastern end of  Safid-Bulan village (Ak-Korgon administration of Ala-Buka district of Djalal-Abad oblast), on the border with the Namangan area of Uzbekistan, at the foot of Archa-Mazar mountain. These sites are connected with the branch of the Silk Road serving the northeast of Fergana in antiquity and the Middle Ages; includes sacral complex consisting of constructions of various chronological periods standing on a medieval Mazar site, natural sacral components and rich intangible heritage in the form of legends, rituals and practice of sacrifices. Historically these monuments are connected with the time of distribution of Islam to the northeast of Fergana valley where it entrenched in IX-X centuries.  Existing ancient sanctuary was adapted for new religion. The first mentioning of this Mazar was made by Djamal Karshi in the end of XIII century, who spoke about two tombs. The central complex is protected by a wall with a main entrance from village street. The mausoleum of Shah-Fazil occupies its southeastern corner. It is a dome centered building with the corners oriented to the cardinal points, with rich carved ganch interior, which includes wide strips of epigraphics. Adobe mausoleums of XVIII-XIX centuries AD with a traditional name of Safid-Bulan and Keldekhana (Kellahana) were erected on a place of earlier structures. In the northeastern corner of a court yard, near Shah-Fazil a phallic shaped stone so-called "fertility stone" or Tash-Mazar is located.  Gravestones - sagona, are connected by local people with characters of the legendary events which entailed emrgence of this complex, i.e. with Shah Fazil, son of the Arabian military leader who falled in batle here, girl-servant Bulan who collected, washed and buried heads of 2700 soldiers-martyrs. The collection of gravestones - kairaks from the medieval necropolis, containing valuable information on a composition and a religious status of the buried is presented here. To the north from this Mazar complex there are: new mosque constructed on a place of old, hauz and small constructions, making a service infrastructure for pilgrims. There is one more complex (closer to the floodplain terrace of Chanach-Sai river), which centre is ruins of the Kyrgyn-mosque standing at Mazar on a place of burial of 2700 soldiers. To the southeast, on a slope of Archa-Mazar, there is one more adobe construction attributed to a standard-bearer of Arabs. Natural components are : sacred trees, a stone plate, a path on Archa-Mazar slope, considered to provide longevity, the mountain, abovementioned "fertility stone". Intangible heritage makes a whole cycle of legends connected with occurrence of sacral functions of this place, rituals and practice of sacrifices which along with Islamic traditions of honouring Mazar, contain also elements of archaic cults. Preservation of Ethnic, language and cultural variety are remarkable in this district, with prevailing Turkic language component - Kyrgyz and Uzbek, the Tadjik community which has not lost ethnic identification lives here. Families - descendants of sheikhs who remember traditions of teaching of this profession and ethics of behaviour in similar places have remained too.

Statement of authenticity and/or integrity of the individual component :

Part of components of this complex - the Mazar site, the mausoleum of Shah-Fazil, etc. are in the State list of monuments of national importance. Local administrations are in charge of legal and physical protection at the local level, Agency for Culture on national level, but basically the local community which established "Safid-Bulan" fund is in charge of day-to-day maintenance. The order of the Government of the KR on establishment of a national historical and cultural museum complex is being prepared. Restoration works with considerable breaks took place from the end of 1970s years to the beginning of this century. Safid-Bulan and Keldekana mausoleums are in satisfactory condition. Dome and ganch decoration of the interior of Shah-Fazil mausoleum needs in restoration. However, the overall condition is stable, without deterioration. There are projects for restoration of the main mausoleum and other structures of the complex, for protective zoning which will be developed within the framework of the new National Program on Cultural Heritage Preservation.

Comparison of the Silk Roads component with other similar properties, whether on the Silk Roads or not, and the reasons that make the property stand out: Unlike the branch of the Silk Road across East and Southeast Fergana, the branch where Safid-Bulan is located was functioning actively only during Middle Ages. At this particular time the political and cultural centres of the valley moved to the north, and new settlements were established. As a cult site, it can be compared to other mazars of Fergana which are composed of man-made and natural components, however, two elements, so-called "fertility stone" and the mausoleum of Shah-Fazil differ it from them. Shah-Fazil mausoleum is known of its monumental epigraphics which exact analogies are not present in Central Asian stucco decoration of XI-XII centuries AD. Comparison of style of inscriptions is possible only with some monuments, in particular, with mausoleums of XI-XII centuries in Old Merv, in Seraxs etc.

6. Name of Silk Roads component: Uzgen and Shorobashat sites

Brief description of the component:

Ancient settlement of Uzgen is the centre of the oasis rich of monuments of settled and nomadic people, dated in a wide chronological range. It belongs to a zone of early contacts on the Silk Road, being the most eastern city centre of Davan, as the city of Ju-chen known on Chinese sources is traditionally localised here in a context of military expeditions of 104-99 BC. Another hypothesis is that ancient Ju-chen is Shorobashat, the largest site in eastern Fergana located along Zhazy (Yassy) river, which has four-part structure with fortifications, covering the area of more than 70 hectares. Main period of development is IV-I centuries BC, at the turn of the era nuclear part of the city migrated to the area where now ruins of Uzgen site are located. Medieval written sources say that the city of Uzgen was on the border of Muslim and nomadic (not yet adopted Islam) worlds. Kosh-Bulak settlement is located on high cape of the right bank of Zhazy (Yassy) river, trapezium-shaped; the sizes 150 x 200m, walls are traced along the perimeter. The settlement is protected by deep ditches from the north and the east. Neighborhood has traces of habitation, too. This settlement had strategic value to control entrance and exit of Zhazy valley, approaches to Shorobashat and Uzgen, and exits from various gorges. One of the branches of Fergana line of the Silk Road went from here, upwards by the river Zhazy, through mountain passes, to the areas of Inner Tien-Shan and southern shore of Issyk-Kul, and further to China. End of X centuries AD, during the expansion of the Karahanid state, Uzgen became capital of the western part of the empire for a short time, and then for a long time remained as a center of Fergana. It is considered that Kara-Kidans kept their treasury here. Uzgen had endured Mongolian invasion, continued to function at the time of Timur and Timurids. Uzgen site is situated on four hills stretching along the Kara-Darya river. The third hills, having solid defensive structures, carried out citadel functions, the others were Shakhristans. Rabad was lower, occupying considerable territory between two rivers. Three mausoleums and minaret, known as the Uzgen architectural complex, are located in the east of the fourth Shakhristan, on a necropolis. Mausoleum complex consist of three fired-brick buildings, closely attached to each other along one line. The earliest mausoleum was built at the turn of XI-XII centuries AD. Facades are decorated with architectural terracotta and carved plaster. Wide belts of inscriptions written in Kufi, Naskh, Suls and vegetative ornament cover them. Inscriptions testify that the representatives of Uzgen branches of Karahanid dynasty and their military leaders are buried in the Northern and Southern chambers. They lived in a period from the middle till the end of XII centuries AD (three dates have remained - 1152, 1186, 1187). The minaret is located to the northwest from the mausoleums, is dated back to middle of XI centuries AD, and consists of stylobate, octahedral base and the conic body with figured bricklaying. Uzgen architectural complex demonstrates development of domical and portal architecture in a time span, and its decor is considered as "encyclopedia of ornament" of Karahanid epoch. Excavations in 1988-1989, between minaret and tombs, revealed a monumental fired brick construction, possibly, ruins of the medrese, mentioned by Dzhamal -Karshi in the end of XIII centuries AD. In 0, 4 km to the north, remains of a potter's workshop, of the end of XII centuries AD, with four rectangular furnaces are found in the middle of modern city. Uzgen was a connecting point on the Silk Road with intensive political, economic, trading and cultural contacts from antiquity and the Middle Ages till modern age. The architectural complex is a model of evolution of architecture in premongolian period.

Statement of authenticity and/or integrity of the individual component:

The modern city of Uzgen is located on the territory of ancient site, but its size is much less. Citadel and Shakhristans have been preserved relatively, however they are also disturbed by modern structures. Officially the complex is a part of "Sulaiman-Too" museum complex with a representative in Uzgen responsible for its protection and management. Uzgen Architectural Complex is on the State list of monuments of national importance and has delimited boundaries.  Restoration of the complex repeatedly carried out throughout ХХ century, as a whole have not affected authenticity and integrity of monuments, except for bulkhead, built on top of the minaret in 1924. New National Program on Cultural Heritage set the site of Uzgen with its monuments as a priority for immediate actions on protective zoning. Shorobashat is also on the State list of monuments of national importance. Local administrations are in charge of legal and physical protection at the local level, there is a museum at school where excavation materials are stored. Remoteness of the site and maintenance by local community are the main factors of preservation of its authenticity and integrity.

Comparison of the Silk Roads component with other similar properties, whether on the Silk Roads or not, and the reasons that make the property stand out: 1. This site differs in duration of functioning: antiquity, the Middle Ages, modern history. 2. Border between settled and nomadic worlds passed across this site. 3. Administrative functions, economic potential, active minting of coins. 4. Uzgen architectural complex demonstrates development of domical and portal constructions and architectural decoration of the Premongolian epoch.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The Silk Roads are routes of integration, exchange and dialogue between East and West that have contributed greatly to the common prosperity of humankind for almost 2 millennia. The whole of the route is more than the sum of its constituent parts.

Flourishing in particular between the 2nd century BC and end of the 16th century AD, this network of routes, started initially from Chang'an (present-day Xi'an)and ultimately stretching from East Asia to the Mediterranean in the west, and down into the Indian subcontinent, facilitated and generated a two-way intercontinental trade in a dazzling array of trading goods. Of these, Chinese silk was among the most valuable, but it included materials such as precious metals and stones, ceramics, perfumes, ornamental woods, and spices in return for cotton and wool textiles, glass, wine, amber, carpets and the celebrated horses. This trade connected various civilizations, persisted over centuries and was sustained by a system of caravanserais, commercial settlements, trade cities and forts along its entire length of more than 10,000 km, which makes it arguably the longest cultural route in the history of humanity.

But much more than trading goods was transported over the network of Silk Roads. Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Nestorian, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Manichaeanism spread over the Silk Roads, Scientific and technological developments were also diffused by these routes, for example from China, paper, printing, gunpowder, cast iron, the crossbow, the magnetic compass, and porcelain, whilst engineering developments (particularly bridge building), the cultivation and working of cotton, tapestry weaving, calendrial sciences, vine cultivation, as well as certain glazing and metal working techniques spread from Central Asia, Middle East, Mediterranean and the west. There was also a substantial two-way exchange of medical knowledge and medicines, as well as of what are now seen as universal fruit and other food crops.

As such, the Silk Roads generated outstanding manifestations of global significance in the realms of economy, society, culture and the environment. The types of monuments, sites and cultural landscapes found along the Silk Roads can be categorized under:

1) Infrastructure (facilitating trade and transportation);

2) Production (of trading goods); and

3) Outcomes (such as cities, art, knowledge as a result of contact and exchange).

The property includes outstanding examples of types of heritage under these categories.

Attributes include:

  • Topographical and natural features
  • Urban patterns and architectural designs
  • Socio-economic development
  • Political events
  • Religious and spiritual values
  • Achievements in science and technology
  • Achievements in the arts (sculpture, painting, carving, etc.)
  • Intangible heritage

Under Category 1 Infrastructure, the sites among others, comprises caravanserais and inns; military posts, garrison stations and fortifications; bridges; irrigation systems; natural and cultural landmarks.

Under Category 2 Production the sites reflect mining, metal working, manufacturing and handicrafts, and other industrial and production sites.

Under Category 3 Outcomes the sites include trade cities, urban centres and settlements; religious, spiritual and ceremonial sites (including shrines, caves, tombs, sites of pilgrimage); and places of associations with political events, transfer of ideas, language, music, dance, poetry, etc.

Inscription of the Silk Roads Cultural Route property is justified under:

  • criterion (ii): as the Silk Roads property exhibits preeminent interchanges of human values;
  • criterion (iii): as the Silk Roads property is an outstanding example of the trade and dissemination of cultural traditions over long-distances;
  • criterion (iv): as the Silk Roads property contains an outstanding example of urban, architectural and technological ensembles that was necessary to sustain this trade and exchange over almost two millennia;
  • criterion (v): as the Silk Roads property bears an exceptional testimony to human interactions with the environment;
  • criterion (vi): as the Silk Roads property is directly and tangibly associated with historic and living traditions, beliefs and value systems.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity


The integrity of the nominated Silk Roads Cultural Route serial property is related to the presence of all the attributes necessary to express its Outstanding Universal Value. The aim is to include in the overall property, after a number of extensions of the initial nomination, attributes that reflect fully the scope of the extensive cultural route, in particular its infrastructure, including caravansaries, forts, bridges, irrigation, agriculture and way markings, its production sites, related to the production of high value trade goods such a metal mining and metal working, and the outstanding outputs of the longdistance, profitable trade over almost two millennia, in particular cities, towns and sacred sites and their associations with the exchange of knowledge in the fields of science, technology, religion, and arts and architecture.

The boundaries of the nominated sites will adequately encompass their attributes.

The robust selection process will ensure that sites selected for nomination will not be threatened.


 To justify inscription of the Silk Roads property under criterion (i) as well depends wholly on a successful argumentation whether this property as a whole was the creation of the human genius (as opposed to an outcome over time of various factors, some deliberately created by humankind, others dependant on random factors that were adapted and incorporated.

The authenticity of the Silk Roads Cultural Route serial property relates to the ability of the individual attributes to reflect fully their relationship to the outstanding universal value.

All the nominated sites will be well-researched and documented to demonstrate their relationship to the active period of the Silk Roads from between 2nd century BC and the end of 16th century AD and their outstanding contribution to its infrastructure, production or social and economic success.

All built remains, archaeological sites and landscapes are in good condition and where necessary are conserved or restored, or have on-going conservation programmes, using appropriate materials and methods in accordance with conservation and archaeological principles and guidelines adopted by the Coordinating Committee. There are no unacceptable reconstructions. Their links with the Silk Roads have not been compromised through inappropriate interventions since their period of activity and all sites have the ability to manifest clearly their associations.

Protection and management

All sites enjoy national protection and have adequate buffer zones. The overall management system for the extensive Silk Roads Cultural Route involves several layers, involving many authorities. The over-arching body is the intergovernmental Coordinating Committee, whose role is to set out the parameters within which nominations are put forward, and to develop guidelines, policies and monitoring mechanisms to be adopted by all participating State Parties on matters such as conservation, presentation and cultural tourism. Within each individual country, there is a national coordinating body that is responsible for coordination between sites. At local level, the management of sites varies to reflect different arrangements of ownership and of local or regional government. However all sites have an agreed management plan that sets out clearly how the attributes of the site contribute to the overall Silk Routes property, and that expresses how their interpretation and visitor management are coordinated with other sites.