The Silk Snow Expedition -2015, Part 5 or Аlong the path of the Silk Road
Since team membes of the expedition are friends from Switzerland, from foreign country, they were so interested in history, legends and experiencing new things. One of places that caught their attention the Great Silk Road. The Great Silk Road is a road of full of history and legends. Djuuku gorge, where our guest stopped is a little part of road which has rich history. This gorge has beautiful waterfalls, forests of juniper and other rare herbs and trees. Through Djuuku gorge nomads and ancient entrepreneurs traded silk, dishes, jeweler and cattle.
The team decided to ski through Djuuku gorge, and they had to ski a 40 km in 24 hours. No one knew what to expect, no one know if there were snow. Guys already had experience in Tash-Rabat area when they had to carry skies since there was no snow for skiing.
Ruins of ancient Gumbez is the only memory in the valley of Djuuku gorge. If you look around it’s hard to believe that long time ago a lot of things were going on here. According to the history this gumbez belonged to one rich man called Balchak. Balchak was famous and powerful leader since he owned nomadic tribes in Yssyk-Kul , Kashgar and Central Tian Shan. Balchak built has gumbez in all regions where he owned nomads. Gumbez in Djuuku was built by Kashgarian masters. Usually gumbez is built with bricks made of clay with the addition of goat's wool fat and slaughtered during the holy rite of cattle.
Gumbez is a building with high columns both sides. Building materials were adobe brick, juniper logs and boards. Gumbez Dimensions 9 x 8 x 7 m. It is surprising that after standing for more than two hundred years, it’s still there. Balchak himself lived at the end of the VIII- IX was in charge of the Djuuku way. Under the bottom Gumbez, archaeologists had found books in Arabic language, which indicates Balchak was educated person.In order to get to China, team has to go through pass Zaukinskii, next is Arabel another pass is Berdel and then China. This trail is not an easy one, since Djuuku pass’s altitude is 3633 m.
Three of the Silk Road passed through the territory of Kyrgyzstan. The first and main branch started in East Turkestan. Merchants were along the river Kok-Suu, passed through the pass and reached Irkeshtam , Alai Mountains. Thence along the river Kyzyl-Suu path led to the city of Termez, then crossed the Amu Darya and the town of Merv went to Iran to the Mediterranean Sea.
Now this is probably the most popular route in the tourism industry. Thousands of tourists from Europe and other countries come to Kyrgyzstan to partially replicate historically important route and become part of the legend.
The second branch started in town Merv. Thence through Bukhara, Samarkand, and Khujand merchants got to the Fergana Valley. Then moved through the city of Osh and Uzgen, along the river Yassy, crossed the valley and through the Arpa At-Bashi and went to Eastern Turkestan.
It is on this path is conveniently located caravanserai Tash-Rabat. But now the path is not so much on in use, usually tourist trekking route passes along mountain ridge. As in ancient times, roads and directions changed quickly and now, the construction of new roads go through historical places, which makes tourist to avoid that places .
The third branch led from Samarkand to Tashkent and from there through numerous cities to Chui valley. In the flourishing city of Chu valley caravans rested, then, after passing a difficult Boom gorge, they reached Lake Issyk-Kul, on the southern shore of which was one of the major cities - Barskhan (Barskaun). Next caravans went through the passes and Djuuku, Bedel to China.
Semonov Tian Shanskii, Prezhevalski N.M also did exploration at this great road. Prezhevalski fell in love with Kyrgyzstan and he chose Kyrgyzstan, Yssyk-ku region to place where he wanted to be buried.
A lot of people as tourists, explorer, and expeditors visited beautiful gorge. As for locals, some live in Djuuku with their families and have their cattle. But hot springs is one of the favorite places for locals. In soviet time it called “Recreation area”, and mostly local farmers enjoyed hot natural waters.
Expeditors on skies showed up at 7pm, they were tired but satisfied.
Photos by: Iceberg-film