World Heritage #1230 – Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain

Last modified 26.03.2022 | Published 23.06.2014Kyrgyzstan, North, Central and East Asia, World Heritage Sites

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Come to the Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain to pray like they have been doing in Central Asia for centuries.

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.


Official facts

  • Country: Kyrgyzstan
  • Date of Inscription: 2009
  • Category: Cultural site

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 1230:

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 travellers 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.


My visit

I should perhaps had more faith in the healing powers of this mountain, but the fact is that my belly trouble forced me to skip the hike across it. That was a huge disappointment, but I managed nonetheless to see it from below from a couple of angles. It struck me that there is nothing about the mountain itself that earns it this great reputation over many centuries. It looks nothing out of the ordinary, but it is a striking feature above the city of Osh. I might add, also to relieve my disappointment, that there is much more splendid mountain scenery to be seen elsewhere in Kyrgyzstan. I was here in 2014.

Read more about my visit.

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Kyrgyzstan - Osh - Suleiman Too Mountain