Sacred mountain Shalbuzdag
The Republic of Dagestan, Dokuzparinskiy region
Shalbuzdag is the main natural sightseeing of Daghestan. It rises on a height of 4150 meters above sea level. Its distinctive feature in comparison with others is the fact that this mountain stands by itself, rising like a lonely pyramid, crowned with notched top. Thanks to such location Shalbuzdag makes an impression of the highest peak in the southern part of Daghestan, though neighboring Bazarduzu and Shakhdag are higher.
For centuries pilgrimage of local people and many of those who come here to find peace and privacy, has been made to the top of this mountain. Gradually this pilgrimage was included into religious practice of local faithful Muslims. Thus the Shalbuzdag mountain became one of the main natural sacred places of the whole Islamic world. The mountain became sacred after there appeared the grave of religious Suleiman.
According to the legend he was very God-fearing and when he died, a miracle happened. When he felt that his days were over, he testamented to the people of his native aul Lgar to prepare him for the burial and to leave him alone in burial stretcher. After his death a flock of doves appeared suddenly, caught up the stretcher and brought it to the Shalbuzdag mountain. Suleiman was buried there. It is since then that the mountain is considered to be sacred, and for more than 500 years the interminable stream of pilgrims goes to it.
People call the Shalbuzdag mountain the road to the fulfillment of wishes. Its height is 4150 meters. People believe that if you surmount this distance, then all your dreams and wishes will certainly come true. The higher people go, the steeper slope becomes. Narrow path is strewed with little stones, and because of them feet constantly slip. Suffocating from the lack of oxygen, the travelers go up, stopping to rest almost every 20 meters. Meeting more than one pair of worn-out trainers or slippers is quite usual here.
On the mountain even the most comfortable shoes don’t endure the ascent. But in spite of all the difficulties and having equipped themselves with a stick, people go to their goal. However, someone is helped by kind travelers. A stone path leads to a small lake. It’s located between two rocks, and rays of sunlight almost don’t reach it. The water here is transparent and cold, covered with thin ice even in summer. The spring is considered to be sacred, and water in it – medicinal. From the lake to the top there’s only one last kilometer. Here a person is awaited by another test – a narrow way between two rocks. To go out of it, one needs to ascent on the stones, which are like varnished. According to the legend, a sinful person, even the skinniest, stucks in this passageway. And those, whose sins were forgiven by God, go through it easily.