Tash Rabat – Inn of Stone
The last caravanserai before the endless Taklaman Desert.
Tash Rabat is what is known as a ‘caravanserai’, the name given to a sort of roadside inn where travellers could stop for the night or a few days to rest. They catered for both the humans and the animals that were travelling along the Silk Road and, as well as having accommodation and food facilities, often provided some opportunities for trade and religious rituals.
Archaeologists don’t know for sure either. They believe the location was used as a resting place for traders from about the 1400s but there’s also evidence that a Christian monastery – Nestorians – may have been there from as early as the 900s. That could explain the odd layout – perhaps the travelling merchants just adapted an existing structure.
These days, the Tash Rabat caravanserai is in the middle of nowhere Kyrgyzstan and, it’s so empty around, it’s hard to imagine a thoroughfare of commerce passing through here once upon a time.