05 June 2006

Balbals


This is a balbal, one of the many stone markers found on old gravesites around Central Asia. We took a picture of this on at the Burana Tower. There really isn't a lot known about them; for example, historians don't know if they represent the person who is buried at the site or possibly someone that person killed. They come in a variety of styles (click on the various links in this post to see quite a few different balbals, except that the one on Wikipedia looks a lot like our picture) and with a variety of details. Most are dated to around the 6th-10th centuries AD. The only thing they all have in common are that they always face east.

And, not surprisingly, there are quite a few legends about balbals. This site talks about some of those.

There are quite a number of balbals in the parks in downtown Bishkek. This one might not exactly be an ancient balbal, but I love it.

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