Plateau of Stone Demons in Uzbekistan, photo and description
Sergei Lukyanenko’s novel “The Last Watch” describes the battle between the forces of Light and Darkness, which took place on the Plateau of Demons, 30 km from Samarkand. In excerpts from the book, the event is portrayed as follows:
……We’ll have to go with him to the Plateau of Demons…by the way, what is that? Don’t tell me there are demons in the East that live on some kind of plateau!
– A demon is a twilight form of high level Dark Mages whose human nature is distorted by the Force, Twilight, and Darkness. The first class teaches. No, the Demon Plateau is a human name. It’s a mountainous area where boulders stand in bizarre shapes-as if petrified demons. People don’t like to go there. Well, only tourists.
– Tourists aren’t people,” I agreed. – So it’s just superstition?
– No, not superstition. – Alisher turned serious. – There was a battle. The big battle between the Dark and the Light, almost two thousand years ago. The Dark were outnumbered, they were winning… and then the Great Light Mage Rustam cast a terrible spell… no one ever used the White Sea in battle again. The Dark Ones were petrified. They didn’t disperse into the Dusk, but vaporized into the Shadow World as stone demons. People are telling the truth, even though they don’t know it……
…… It was quiet and cool. It is always cool at night in the mountains, even in summer. It was just beginning to dawn. The plateau, familiar to me from Geser’s memories, had hardly changed. Except that the outlines of the stone figures had been smoothed out by the wind and the occasional rain, and were less obvious, though still recognizable. A group of mages with their arms raised in a summoning spell, a werewolf, a running mage…
– What is it…” Alisher whispered. – What happened here…
– Were… were they people? – Alisher asked, pointing to the blocks of stone.
– The others,” I corrected.
– They didn’t die. They were petrified. They lost all their senses. And the mind remained, tied to the blocks of stone. – I glanced at Afandi, but he was still standing thoughtfully beside me, either staring at the old battlefield, or eastward, where the sky was slightly pink.
Then I looked at the plateau through the Twilight.
The sight was truly monstrous.
What Geser had seen two thousand years ago was frightening and disgusting. What I saw now evoked pity and pain.
Almost all of the Dark Ones, turned to stone by the White Marvel, were insane. Their minds could not bear to be imprisoned in total isolation from all senses. The fluttering colored halos around the stones blazed with brown and brown-green fires of madness. To try to make an analogy, it looked as if a hundred lunatics were spinning senselessly in one place or standing dazed; screaming, giggling, moaning, crying, mumbling, drooling, scratching their faces, or trying to tear their eyes out.
And only a few of the auras retained any vestige of reason. It was either sheer force of will or she was too desperate for revenge, but there wasn’t much madness in them. But there was a lot of rage, hatred, desire to destroy everyone and everything – at least a lot……
…… “Let them go,” I asked, not knowing who. – Let them go, please. They did evil, which was evil, and good, which was evil. But everything has its own time and its own forgiveness. Let them go…”
The fortress above the city seemed to sigh. The birds circling in the sky began to descend. The murky haze in the air began to clear. The last ray of the setting sun fell on the city, a promise to return at dawn.
And I felt all the layers of the universe shrink and tremble. I saw, almost in real life, how the stone idols on the plateau of demons in Uzbekistan were crumbling. How the Other, who left there after disembodiment, dissolve in the Dusk – with relief and a shy hope……
Lukyanenko describes the plateau of demons in Samarkand and you have a great opportunity to see and feel the power of this place. In Uzbek this plateau is called Shaitan Zhiga, which means “Devil’s Helmet” or “Plateau of the Devil”. It is located 30 km to the south of Samarkand, between the two mountain passes. There are huge granite boulders scattered all over the valley; some of them look like figures of demons frozen in the heat of battle; some look like images of ancient deities; there are also those which have the features of animals such as tigers, lizards, birds of prey etc.
The place does not look welcoming and at the same time mysterious and attractive. No trees grow on the rocky soil, but in the spring you can see thousands of springs gushing out from under the rocks.
Local residents speak of the plateau as a “bad” place, but where did such a rumor, no one remembers, one of the versions tells that many centuries ago, on this site made sacrifices to their gods, the pagan tribes.
But no one knows for sure, and maybe even in the book, the stone idols were given freedom, it is possible that in life, they languish to this day in their stone prisons on the plateau of demons, near Samarkand.
“Plateau of Demons”, millennia-old plane trees and stone idols of Kara-Tepa, Uzbekistan
Good afternoon! Today I would like to tell you about my return trip to Samarkand Region of Uzbekistan. Two years ago I was already there and it was my first trip with the Mysterious Uzbekistan team, by the way. I’ve already posted posts about that trip here, here and here. “The plateau of demons made a strong impression on me then and I wanted to come back here very much. In addition to the plateau, I wanted to climb the 1300 steps to the cave of St. David again. Last time I could hardly make it up and was the last one to arrive, but after two years I had improved my physical condition, and I wanted to check how much I had done.)
I think there’s no need to repeat that we started early in the morning before sunrise.) You remember how I “love” the early rise, right? But every cloud has a silver lining, but we managed to take pictures of landscapes and beautiful fields of sunflowers.
Like last time, the cultural and entertaining part of the trip began with a visit to a sacred place called Chor-Chinor – “Four Chinara” located in Urgut, on the border with Tajikistan. There are plane-trees (plane trees) here that are over a thousand years old! According to one legend, the Arab general Khoja Abu Talib invaded here with an army, became the governor of the region and was buried near one of the plane-trees he planted. True or not, the plane-trees are very old indeed.
There is even a small natural room in the hollow of one of them. There used to be a school here. Yes, yes, there were lessons in this hollow. Dervishes, traveling monks, used to stay here for rest. At the dawn of Soviet rule in Uzbekistan secret meetings of Bolsheviks were held in the hollow. In general, an interesting place! And quite cool.
Later, in the early twentieth century the mosque was built here. The mosque building at different times was used as a school, hospital and storehouse. At the time of my previous visit, the building was being renovated, but now it’s a functioning mosque.
In the centuries that Chor-Chinor has existed, the number of trees has long exceeded a hundred. It is a beautiful, shady place where it is very quiet and peaceful. A couple of months ago there was a news item that the local administration decided to “improve” Chor-Chinor and turn it into a tourist center and cut down almost all the plane-trees. Fortunately, this was not the case. The chinards are still standing, although some seem to be missing. I’ll have to pull up my old photos and take a look.
In addition to the plane-trees, there is also a spring with the clearest water. There is a legend that one of the ancient heroes stuck a millstone into the ground and a spring gushed out of the ground. When geologists were doing their research, they took away the millstone and the water disappeared. They stuck it back in and water appeared again. I don’t know how true this story is, but the millstone is still in place and water is gushing from the spring.
After Urgut and Chor-Chinor we went to the mountain pass. There are very interesting places here – Kara-Tepa with its stone idols and the Plateau of Demons.
First we stopped near Kara-Tepa.
Perhaps the most popular stone here is the one called “The Heart”. Although here it all depends on your imagination – some see two diplodocs with their heads joined, some see hands in boxing gloves. Some see a card suit of spades. What do you see?
Locals say this place (and the nearby Demon Plateau, for that matter) has bad energy. Trees don’t grow here, cattle tends to avoid these places and people settle further away.
After Kara-Tepa, we drove to the Demon Plateau. It’s a rather popular place, described in Lukyanenko’s “The Last Watch”. According to his version there was a grand battle of the Otherworlders here and the light mage Rustam used some terrible spell, which turned the Dark Ones into stones. They are imprisoned here forever, but they can see and hear everything.
Though it’s only the result of erosion and rain, you can still see the frozen figures.
For example, this one reminds me of the head of some kind of cysteeper fish.
And this one reminds me of the head of a seal with its mouth open, trying to bite something.
And this one looks like a turtle.
And this one looks like the skull of an animal.
It is believed that this place has a powerful energy, so the locals tie ribbons to the trees, making wishes.
Passing over the stone ridge we saw a wonderful panorama. It was the second time I’ve seen it, but it still made a strong impression!
After the Plateau of Demons we descended through the man-made forest of Aman-Kutan to the ancient caravan road connecting Samarkand and Kesh (nowadays Shakhrisabz). Trees have been purposefully planted on the local mountain slopes since the time of Tamerlane. Over the centuries, they have grown into a veritable forest.
While preparing my post two years ago I searched information about this tract and judging by the data I found this tract is more ancient than it was supposed to be. There were trade caravans and military columns long before Tamerlan (XIV-XV centuries). Persian and Greek warriors walked here, and the Mongols also made their mark. The tract continues to exist and to the footprints of horses’ hooves there are tire tracks. At one time, by the order of Tamerlan they started to pave the route with stone – the paved sections are still there!
The descent was easy and not long. And after about an hour we came to the foot of the mountain where the cars were waiting for us.
We arrived in Samarkand and checked into a fairly comfortable hotel.
After resting and freshening up we went to have dinner and walk around the city for a while. If you will be in Samarkand be sure to visit Registan day and night. It is especially beautiful at night!
In the next post I will tell you about our trip to the cave of St. David, the same biblical David who fought Goliath.