The History about Dissemination of Making Paper and Islam Through the Battle of TalasReservation
Talas, located in the West Kyrgyzstan, is the borderland between Europe and Asia and there is a broad expanse of field. There had been a huge number of conquest wars to obtain this area. These include wars between the Huns and the Hans, battle of Talas which is about the conflict between Tang and Arab dynasty, the conquest of Europe by Chingiz Khan, so Talas had been a battlefield. Most of the historical sites and relics had been disappeared with no traces, the only things left behind are the traces buried in land. The journey is about searching the disappeared traces and stories.
There had been a great number of martyrs when Muslims first spread Islam in Central Asia for the first time. The places where Islamic martyrs were first buried and dedicated their whole lives still exist today and they became the pilgrims of Muslim. There are pilgrims in Zalalabad.
The Road of Peace and War is the journey to seek the religion which seeks both peace and war for eight days.
Point of Travel
Taldy-burak, the first village that we’re visiting is the town where the army of Han China stayed for a while after the defeat in the battle of Talas. There is a legendary passed down from that period. After the battle, there was a soldier who knew the method of making paper. He married a maiden in the town, and he conveyed the method to others.
In nowadays, recycled paper is made in this town and sold to public institutions and schools, so the lives of villagers have been improved. Travelers can also participate in making paper, go to a horseback-riding, and watch a performance of villagers. You can stay in a neat, remodeled house of local people and enter into their lifestyle.
Manas is a national hero of Kyrgyz, and he is the topic of the Kyrgyz epic 'Manas'. If there is Chingiz Khan in Mongolia, there is Manas in Kyrgyzstan and he is worshipped as the founder of the country. The Manas epic, which is about the formation of a country by unifying 40 tribes and conquering the surrounding, was registered as UNESCO World Heritage. Manaschi, who is a singer citing songs based on this epic, is a nationally respected job. You can visit the Manas Center in Talas and take a closer look on Manas and life of Manaschis.
The bank of the Talas river is where the battle between the Tang Dynasty army led by Gao Xianzhi and the Abbasid Caliphate to hold hegemony in the Central Asia. During the time, one soldier who knew the technique of making paper was taken as a prisoner. The method was conveyed to Islamic countries first, then European countries next. You can imagine the characteristics of those days by visiting the memorial of the Battle of Talas and historical and cultural site of the battle.
Chingiz Aitmatov is a national author of Kyrgyzstan and a lot of his works has been translated in many different languages and still been read these days. The works such as ‘Jamila’ and ‘The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years’ were translated into Korean. There is a museum honoring his works, and there is also a one-day class for making a drawing book. It will be a new experience for travelers.
You will be using Kara-Buura Pass, which goes on an unpaved road with climbing up the hills at an elevation above 3300m, from Talas to Zalalabad. You will see a marvelous view when you pass the hills by a four-wheeled vehicle.
The Shakh-Fazil Mausoleum, also known as Safed-Bulan Mausoleum dates back to the times when Shakh Zhalil, grandson of the prophet Muhammad, came with his troops to spread Islam in the region. When the Islamic army came, the local people said that they agree to accept Islam. However, while the soldiers were praying, the villagers sent thier own army to the mosque and the army decapitated about 2,700 disarmed soldiers. There was an order which prohibited the people to bury the bodies of the soldiers, but Shakh Zhalil's dark-skinned maid, Bulan, washed all the soldiers' heads and buried them, while searching for her master. Eventually, her skin turned white due to the stress that she had to deal with, so the people called her Safed Bulan(White Deer).
Several years later, Shakh Zhalil's son, Shakh-Fazil', led a huge army to occupy the area and spread Islam. After Shakh-Fazil's death, he was buried in the mausoleum which was named after him, right next to the mausoleum which was called after the name of Safed-Bulan. Nowadays, this place is considered to be holy and Muslim pilgrims continuously visit there.
Sary-Chelek Lake is not only famous for its beauty, but also for the fact that being located at the altitude of 1940m above sea level. It is the second-largest mountain lake in Kyrgyzstan with an area of 500ha, 7.5km long and 234m deep. The road towards the lake changes from paved to unpaved, however the discomfort can be taken away by the beautiful scenery which you may see on both sides of the road.
You will relax in Tash-Komur, which is famous for its nickname 'coal town' and history.
In Tash-Komur, archaeologists of the former Soviet era discovered dinosaur eggs and dinosaur bones in a completely preserved form. In addition, there are places where shellfish fossils are piled up like mountains. Going to that area and you would feel like you are traveling to the time long before humans existed.
At first glance, the Toktogul Reservoir looks like a lake, but it is actually an artificial reservoir. The name of the submerged village was called Toktogul. On the way to this place, the color of the water in the river which is sometimes located on the left and sometimes on the right, has a bright, jade color. It's so beautiful, that it would make you want to stay for a long time to take pictures. Take a break while watching the sunset at Toktogul Reservoir.
Return back to Bishkek.
Kyrgyzstan's biggest city and the capital - Bishkek, is a complex city with a population of 1.2 million, which is enough to give it a different feeling compared to other cities in Kyrgyzstan. But despite all of this, the traditional market is a good place to remind yourself about the values of the Kyrgyz people. Before you leave Kyrgyzstan, you will be able to buy honey, dried nuts and other authentic souvenirs.
※ This schedule is subject to change without prior notice due to local circumstances.
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