40 km south-west of Samarkand, Aksay village.
From Samarkand follow A378, turn left to Aksay, at the southern end of town.
|Classification:||created by divine intervention|
|Dimension:||L=30 m, W=0.5-4 m, H=15 m, A=1,250 m asl.|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Hazrat Daud Cave, Aksay, Uzbekistan, Tel: +998-90-605-6744.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Hazrat Daud Cave (St. David Cave) is one of the most famous holy places in Uzbekistan, dedicated to St. David. It is located high on the mountain side and reached by climbing the peak of the hill on a trail with 1303 steps. After praying at the ancient mosque there is a trail down 200 steps to the cave of Hazrat Daud. The cave is a 30 m long crack in the rock with a narrow entrance, which widens inside. At the far end are Daud’s hand prints and foot prints. The cave is believed to fulfill any, even most incredible desires, if you touch Daud’s handprints and footprints when you make the wish. According to many legends, the mountain refuge of David was located in the vicinity of Samarkand.
The Lord sent King David to Asia to preach monotheism. The preaching of Hazrat Daud, as he was called by the Muslims, ignited the anger of the Zoroastrians living there, so they persecuted him. Daud sought refuge in the mountains, prayed to God and was able to move the stones apart with his hands and hid in the mountain. It is believed when David, with the help of God, was pulling apart the rocky mountains, his hands and feet were imprinted in the rock.
David was looking for a secret place to rest before the battle with Goliath. Genii took him to a mountainous area near Samarkand, but Ifrits found him and also brought the giant Goliath on their backs. David turned to God with a prayer to hide him, for he was not yet ready for battle with Goliath. He ran until inaccessible rocks got in his way. Believing that God would protect him, David began to dig a hole in a boulder that suddenly became softer than wax in his hands. He penetrated deep into the rock, leaving Goliath holding an empty sack, and struck the rock with his club in epic fury.
This type of cave formation was actually new to us. Located in the Mirankul Mountains, this legendary cave is revered by members of different religious faiths. The flow of pilgrims never dries up. King David (Daud) is deeply respected by Jewish, Moslem, and Christian mystics. After he slew Goliath He became a warrior king and the ruler of the Kingdom of Israel (1043-937 BC). He was the author of Psalms and the father of King Solomon. King David is one of the most significant persons of the Old Testament, a complex character, a rich and full personality, endowed with wisdom and many talents.
David was a shepherd when he killed Goliath with a stone from his sling. He married King Saul's daughter and became friends with Jonathan, Saul’s son. David gradually turned into an epic hero whose incalculable achievements eclipsed Saul himself. Saul started to view David as his rival and David had to escape, hiding himself in the desert, in the mountains and in the forest.
Hazrat Daud was a fair man and Allah gifted him a possibility to fuse metal in his hands. The Samarkand sovereign decided to make Daud work for him, to forge swords and spears. The prophet heard about this and ran away, until he reached this mountain. Allah transformed the mountain into clay, let Daud into the mountain and closed the entrance.
According to a legend, once a shepherd in search of the best pastures for the sheep came to the lonely gorge at the foot of the mountain at sunset. He fell asleep under a bush on the bank of a small stream. In the middle of the night, at the rise of the full moon, he was suddenly woken by sounds of the laughing girls. When he came to the stream, he saw several naked girls of Pari bathing and combing their hair. The shepherd was afraid of a belief among the people of that time, if Pari notices that a person watches her nakedness, she will forever deprive his mind, jinx misfortunes on his house, or even the whole settlement. The shepherd escaped, without looking back, and forbade the sons and grandsons to approach the gorge. Among the local people there is the belief that because of this the area of the kishlak remained untouched and deserted until today.