Manas Ordo, Kyrgyzstan

Legend has it that the final rest place for the great warrior and Kyrgyz hero in Talas Province is Manas Ordo. The maausola is situated on the bank of the Kenkol River, not far from an ancient burial place and it meets the Talas River. The Manas hero is from Talas in the epic, so it’s logical that he’s buried in it.

The mausoleum appears like other 14th century temples with cufic scripts at the outside edge of the monument. Several religious statements exist, as is a definition of the person buried in the mausoleum: “this is the virtual, chaste, humble, most magnificent mausoleum of women, the Kenizek Khatun, emir of Abuka’s daughter.”

Legend has it that Kanykei, Manas’ wife, requested the grave to include another inscription. There was custom when the foe came to kill the sepulchers while Manas was alive, so Kanykei placed the name of a woman into the mausoleum to confuse the enemies of Manas and protect his location.

In fact, when archeologists opened the crypt, they discovered a man’s skeleton, 2 meters (6.5 feet) high, not a woman’s skeleton. Academics and scholars took this as meaning that Manas Ordo was indeed, rather than the princess described in the outer inscription of the tomb, the tomb of the legendary warrior.

Though skeptics believe Manas had not been buried in the mausoleum, the site has nevertheless become an important spiritual destination in Kyrgyzstan.