Hazrat Daud Cave
Hazrat Daud Cave
Hazrat Davud is a holy place located within the village of Aksai, 40 km from Samarkand. Khazrati Dovud cave is located at an altitude of about 1250 meters, at the foot of the western spur of the Turkestan and Zarafshan ranges with a rocky wedge protruding into the Karshi steppe. The cave itself is shrouded in many mysteries, secrets and legends, which fathers have told to their sons from generation to generation. The most popular legend is that David (yes the one who slew the goliat) has left his handmarks inside the cave. Every year, pilgrims from all countries and different confessions flock to this place to worship the holy place and ask for forgiveness, healing, or the fulfillment of desires.
It is believed that David is worshiped in three world religions at once. Muslims call him Hazrat Daud, and Orthodox Christians and Jews – David. His life story is shrouded in secrets and legends, he had the gift of prophecy and healing. Saint David at the age of 33 became the ruler of the united kingdom of Israel and Judah and reigned for forty years.
One of the legends says that the Jewish king and prophet David (among the Muslims Dovid, Davud, or Daoud), hiding from enemies, arrived to this location, where he decided to pray and God heard his prayer giving him supernatural power to break the rock with his hands and to disappeard into this cave.
According to Arab legend, the prophet Daoud was sent by Allah to the East to preach monotheism. Hazrat His speeches angered the Zoroastrians living here, who began to persecute him. Daud, having prayed to Allah, was able to move the stones with his hands and take refuge in the formed mountain cave.
Another legend related to this place has lasted to this day is about the mythical girls Pari, whom a shepherd once saw here, asleep among the mountains. He knew that Pari could forever rob a man of his mind and damage his family if they find out that someone is watching how they bathe naked and comb their hair, so he ran away from there so as not to bring trouble. It is believed that since that time this area has remained deserted for a long time: many believe that ominous female laughter can be heard near the local rivers and waterfalls at night.
The cave and a mosque next to it are located up on a hill with stairs leading there. According to the various resources, the number of stairs differ from 1303 to 2500, perhaps the truth is somewhere between them. For inexperienced hikers climbing might be difficult and therefore some visitors hire donkeys, horses or even camels to walk along a littered path, bypassing stairs and tents. Most go on foot, including the elderly, many of whom go to the sacred place barefoot. At every turn of the stairs, at every shelter, enterprising vendors offer soft seats to take a break from the climb and offer medicinal mountain herbs or maybe a skin of a wild animal or something else as a souvenir. The steps will eventually bring you to the top of the hill, where tired donkeys and horses graze the grass. At the highest point there is a small ancient mosque surrounded by colorful women’s robes and children’s shouts. Here at the height of 1250 meters above sea level, amazing views of the surrounding mountains open up.
The cave itself is actually not a cave, but a long narrow corridor between the rocks located behind the mosque. The measures of the cave vary from 0,5 to 4 meters wide up to 15 meters high and up to 60 meters long with carpeted benches for elderly people to sit in seats. At the end of the cave people kneel on the wet stone floor, join their palms and silently listen to the echoing voice of the mullah, reading prayers and telling legends about this unusual place.
Historians and archaeologists still argue whether David existed as a historical person or whether this whole story is nothing more than a legend. There are only few tourists at the Hazrat Daud cave but many pilgrims and local believers who have come to the place of power of three religions to pray or make a wish.