Koshoy Korgon settlement
Koshoy Korgon settlement is located 15 km southwest from At-Bashy in the Naryn region. It is a ruined citadel from the 10th and 12th centuries and it is placed at the edge of Kara-Suu village. The square form of the fortress at the ancient the Silk Road is clearly visible from the google maps (check the map below). In the 10th century, there was a large city around the fortress and according to the findings most of the inhabitants were engaged in handicraft and trade. Today only the ruins from the ten-meter clay walls and of 50 towers have remained together with deep brick oven holes telling about the life that once existed here. The origin of the structure may well be of the Karakhanid time although there is a legend that it was built by Manas as a mausoleum for his friend Koshoy, a name mentioned in the Kyrgyz Manas epoch.
Legend says that Koshoy was one of the closest fighters of the hero Manas. An enthusiastic friend and uncle, Manas’s chief adviser and leader of the Katagan clan. He lived around the 7th-8th centuries and in all versions of the epic was the wisest and just old man who could сonfront Manas. He was tall, well-shaped by his age, but a bit overweight, strong and courageous, wore a long grey beard and mustache and shaved his head. Koshoy first met with Manas when he was 80 years old.
According to another legend, Koshoy ordered the construction of a military fortress (Koshon Korgon) to protect the new found lands and the local population from attacks by Chinese together with other enemies and groups of robbers. The location of the fortress and settlement was chosen due to the almost unreachable location meaning that the convenient location of the building on the left bank of the Kara-Koyun River at the foot of Mountain opened it’s defenders a great opportunity to survey everything that was happening around and especially to spot the possible approaching enemy.
Most of the fortresses in different parts of the world (Japan, Asia, Europe) were built on very similar principles and had many common structural features, which allowed restorers to more accurately restore the appearance of this destroyed archaeological site. In terms of the plan, the fortress was a structure in the form of a rectangle with sides of 245 x 250 meters. The walls of the fortress were built of clay and inguinal blocks – building structures in the form of large bricks, made of inguinal – rammed clay, which has great strength, and surrounded a large area. The height of the walls reached 10 meters, and the thickness was between 3 – 8 meters depending on the height. 50 circular or rectangular towers were also placed along the perimeter of the wall in long straight sections and corners. The towers were intended for observation, providing longitudinal shelling of the fortress wall, protecting the gates and of course also served as a shelter for defending defenders of the fortress. An additional protective device for the rampart was a ditch up to 11-14 meters wide, up to three meters deep, filled with water from a nearby source. The place for protection and defense was chosen quite well and for 29 years the walls of the fortress stubbornly defended against the attacks of enemies.
For a long time fortress protected its people, however troubled time came to the fortress when it shuddered from the terrible raids of the nomads. After the raids there was a relatively calm period, and numerous loaded caravans again started to pass along the trade routes. However, At Bashi was captured and destroyed by the Mongol attackers not so long afterwards. The history is silent about the circumstances of the final fall of the stronghold but exactly one hundred years later, according to some unconfirmed reports, the city was again rebuilt by Amir Temur (Tamerlane (1336-1405) – the great Central Asian (Uzbek) ruler, commander and conqueror) and served as a transshipment point for his army in campaigns to the East.
In 2004, the historical museum was opened next to the fortification ruins and it houses the artifacts found in Koshoy Korgon. The successfull archaeological campaigns in the fortress have continued and are still ongoing until these days. Currently, scientists are trying to enlist the historical monument to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
How to reach Koshoy Korgon
From At-Bashy, you can take a car to the to Koshoy Korgon settlement. It will cost you about 500 som for the round trip. Koshoy Korgon is situated in about 2 km southeast from the Kara-Suu village. The citadel is reached by turning left after Kara-Suu mosques and war memorial and then continuing to the end of the road, where the ruins are found in the field to the right where farmers are farming just around it. Koshoy Korgon is a nice extra stop on the way to Chatyr Kul or Tash Rabat.