Caravanserai Rabat-Malik

Caravanserai Rabat-Malik - the remains of a medieval inn and a monument-palace of the Karakhanid era, located in the Hungry Steppe, not far from the Uzbek city of Navoi. Once there was a section of the Great Silk Road connecting Samarkand and Bukhara. Many rich caravans moved along the road, they needed protection, so a guard house or "ribat" was built in the steppe. Later, the fortifications began to be used as a haven for travelers and a summer palace.

The first information about the forgotten architectural monument appeared in the middle of the 19th century. In 1841-1842, the English naturalist Alexander Lehmann, who participated in the Bukhara mission, sketched the remains of old buildings and made descriptions of their decor. At first, historians believed that Rabat-Malik was an ordinary inn, but during archaeological excavations of the monument it turned out that the Karakhanid rulers used it for their summer residence.

Researchers have found several residential and religious premises decorated with carved unglazed terracotta and carved ganch near the foundations of the buildings and the entrance portal. In addition, among the ruins, they managed to unearth a lot of ancient ceramics - jugs, decanters with a narrow neck, teapots and flasks. The fact that the Rabat-Malik caravanserai served as a fortification was evidenced by two powerful fortress walls located at a distance of 100 meters from the architectural monument. It is noteworthy that the thickness of these walls reached 1.7-1.8 m.The heyday of the Rabat-Malik caravanserai fell on the XII century. After the Karakhanid state collapsed, Timur and representatives of the Sheibanid dynasty made a stop here.

The caravanserai today

The ruins of the palace monument are recognized as one of the largest civil architecture buildings in pre-Mongol Central Asia, and today they are open to travelers. Experienced restorers have completely restored the majestic entrance portal, as well as part of the ancient walls.

The preserved southern portal served as the entrance to the Rabat-Malik caravanserai. Behind the portal are the ruins of an inn measuring 100 by 100 meters. It is known that at its corners there were once fortress towers 15 m high.At first, travelers walked along the gallery, which separated utility rooms from the inn - kitchens with tandoors, cattle rooms, warehouses for storing fodder and housing for servants.

The gallery led out into an octagonal rotunda representing the Central Hall, and from there the travelers entered the living rooms located in the northern part of the inn. The middle part of the architectural monument was occupied by a small mosque.

Sardoba Malik

Not far from the ruins of the inn, behind the old road, you can see the ancient stone cistern Sardoba Malik. A giant underground tank, 13 m deep, was intended to store a large supply of water. It was built in the 11th century to supply water to everyone who stayed in the Rabat-Malik caravanserai.

The Zeravshan River and the inn were connected by an underground canal or kyariz. The water was stored in a stone container throughout the hot summer, so travelers passing by could always quench their thirst and give the tired camels a drink. The water remained clear and fresh thanks to the 12 m high domed roof that protected it from the sun and dust.

The brick portal to the dome of Sardoba Malik was added in the 20th century. A ramp leads from it to the water, and on the dome itself you can see three rectangular light windows.