Saimaluu-Tash Petroglyphs

Saimaluu-Tash Petroglyphs

Saimaluu Tash is listed on the World Heritage List and is under the protection of UNESCOThese unique stones of our ancestors, created ages ago, are the start of the history of fine art. Saimaluu Tash is located in the northeastern hills of the Fergana range, in the Kurgat pass at the altitude of 3000-3200 m from sea level. 

Petroglyphs in central Asia, Kyrgyzstan drawing stones
Saimaluu-Tash remote collection of rock paintings

“Saimaluu Tash” translates from the Kyrgyz Language as a “patterned stone”. The petroglyphs have been created on flat surfaces of clastic rocks of basalt, covered with a thick crust of a layer of “patina” of dark brown or blue-black color. Although people have been investigating petroglyphs for centuries they yet continue to be a mystery. 

According to scientists, there are about ten thousand images with stories and iconic images in the Saimaluu Tash areaThe stones contain different types of images like single symbols as well as several pictures displayed as a story or event. 

Saimalyy Tash, patterned stones
Saimaluu Tash complex

Displayed animals are elephants, lions, snow leopards, ibex, wolves, birds, red deer, reptiles as well as local domesticated animals such as horses, bulbs, and yaks. Multi-image combination stones represent the hunting scenes, domestication of wild animals, moving around the mountain passes and ritual dances of masked people. 

Experts tell that some of the images go back from BC times to the 8th century A.D. One of the common drawings is an illustration of animals connected with triangles or squares similar to the Middle Eastern ceramics from the third to first millennium BC. Some of the stones even indicate the religious beliefs and thoughts from the world of the ancestors. 

How to reach Saimaluu Tash

Saimaluu Tash is open to visitors for only one month of the year in August. For the rest of the season the massif is under thick layers of never-melting snowfields. For a short distance, there is a road from Kazarman village that only jeeps can handle but the rest of the way to the site can be reached in about a day on foot or horseback as well as with a donkey. 

Saimaluu Tash can be also reahced by hiking from Arslanbob, but it takes several days and is therefore only for more experienced hikers.

Saimalyy Tash, patterned stones
Saimaluu tash rock painting

Sights Near Saimaluu Tash

Page updated 25.4.2022

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