San-Tash

San-Tash

An ancient legendary mound of stones

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The Kakyra Valley, which lies between the Kungei and Terske Ala Too Mountain Ranges in north-eastern Kyrgyzstan, has more than 250 burial mounds of the Sake Tribe dating back to between the 6th and 1st century B.C.  But these are not what catch your eye.

In the centre of the valley there is a large pile of stones and small boulders.  The pile is about 4 metres high and 56 metres in diameter.  To date there has never been a completely satisfactory explanation for this pile of stones.  However there is one legend that gives a sad, but beautiful explanation.

When Tamerlane was going to war against the Chinese, he met an old man on the way to do battle.  The old man asked Tamerlane to order his men to each collect a stone from the shores of Laker Issyk Kul and to lay them in a pile in the centre of the valley as they passed through.

On his return from the campaign Tamerlane again found the old man waiting for him, and this time he was asked to order his men to collect a stone as they went past the pile.  When all had done so Tamerlane saw how many men he had lost in battle.

True?  Who knows?  And the meaning of San Tash? Counting Stones.