San Tash Burial Mound – Kyrgyzstan - Atlas Obscura

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San Tash Burial Mound

According to one story, this burial mound is made up of stones that represent the casualties of a major battle. 


In northeastern Kyrgyzstan, near the Kazhak border, the Kakyra Valley has more than 250 burial mounds. The largest of them is located in the center of the valley, and shares a name with a nearby mountain pass. Known as San Tash, it is a four-meter-high mound with a diameter of 56 meters.

The name San Tash means “counted stones.” The site is associated with the great commander and conqueror known as Tamerlane (sometimes called Timur). Legend holds that Tamerlane asked each of his soldiers to take a stone and drop it in that place, so he would have an idea of the size of his army. After the battle, he asked the soldiers to take back their stone to have an idea of the war casualties. The remaining pile of stones represented how many soldiers had died during battle. Tamerlane ordered the mounds be left as a monument to the fallen soldiers and as a reminder of the hardships and stages of wars.

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