Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain Kyrgyzstan dominates the Fergana Valley and forms the backdrop to the city of Osh, at the crossroads of important routes on the Central Asian Silk Roads. For more than one and a half millennia, Sulaiman was a beacon for travelers revered as a sacred mountain. Its five peaks and slopes contain numerous ancient places of worship and caves with petroglyphs as well as two largely reconstructed 16th-century mosques. One hundred and one sites with petroglyphs representing humans and animals as well as geometrical forms have been indexed in the property so far. The site numbers 17 places of worship, which are still in use, and many that are not. Dispersed around the mountain peaks they are connected by footpaths. The cult sites are believed to provide cures for barrenness, headaches, and back pain and give the blessing of longevity. Veneration for the mountain blends pre-Islamic and Islamic beliefs. The site is believed to represent the most complete example of a sacred mountain anywhere in Central Asia, worshipped over several millennia.
Outstanding Universal Value
Sulaiman-Too Mountain dominates the surrounding landscape of the Fergana Valley and forms the backdrop to the city of Osh. In mediaeval times Osh was one of the largest cities of the fertile Fergana valley at the crossroads of important routes on the Central Asian Silk Roads system, and Sulaiman-Too was a beacon for travelers. For at least a millennium and a half Sulaiman-Too has been revered as a sacred mountain. Its five peaks and slopes contain a large assembly of ancient cult places and caves with petroglyphs, all interconnected with a network of ancient paths, as well as later mosques. The mountain is an exceptional spiritual landscape reflecting both Islamic and pre-Islamic beliefs and particularly the cult of the horse. Sulaiman-Too corresponds closely to iconic images in the Universe of Avesta and Vedic traditions: a single mountain with a peak dominating four others, standing in the virtual center of a vast river valley, and surrounded by and related to other mountains in the landscape system.
Integrity and Authenticity
The authenticity of the mountain and its cult places are unbelievable and even given the numerous interventions over the past 50 years. However, since the sacred associations of the mountain are linked to its dramatic form rising from the surrounding plain, it is highly vulnerable to continuing new development on it and around its base. To protect its majesty, spirituality, visual coherence and setting and thus the full authenticity of the property, great vigilance will be needed in enforcing the protection of its setting. The integrity of the mountain relies on the protection of the cult places and their connecting paths as well as their visual linkages and views to and from the mountain.
Management and Protection Requirements
The management of the mountain and its setting is coordinated by a Site Management Council who oversees the implementation of the Management Plan and Action Plan. Its effective protection relies on the approval of an agreed zoning arrangement within the Osh Master Plan. To protect the property and its buffer zone against modern developments during the period before the completion and final approval of the Legal Protection Zoning Document and the Osh Urban Master Plan, a map showing the agreed boundaries of the nominated area, of the buffer zone and its sub-zones have been distributed as a reference to the responsible agencies of the Osh oblast, Osh city, Karasu district, and Kyzylkyshtak rural area.