After independence in 1991, Kyrgyz authorities have given serious attention to their cultural and natural heritage. In 1995 they signed the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage, and in 2001 they presented their Tentative List.
Due to lack of resources, they have not yet been able to nominate a site to the UNESCO World Heritage List. In April 2003 the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after initiative and proposal from the Norwegian Ministry of Environment, granted NOK 400.000 to the project: “Norwegian-Kyrgyz co-operation for inscription of cultural and natural heritage to the UNESCO World Heritage List”.
The Nordic World Heritage Foundation was given the task to cooperate with the Kyrgyz authorities and the National Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic for UNESCO. Through dialogue with Kyrgyz authorities it was decided that the holy mountain, Suleyman Too, in Osh Province should be the country’s first nomination.
Suleyman-Too is the only sacred mountain in this region in Central Asia, uniting the diverse natural and cultural components from different epochs and exposing the spiritural aspirations of various communities united by universal world notions.
Thanks to its favorable geographicfal location, the nominated property has been a crossing of migratory and trading routes from ancient times until today. This has created a symbiosis of various cultures and traditions for more than three millennia and is refected in various cultural landscape components: in the rock images repertoire, in the system of cult places, beliefs and rites. All these components are originally used in modern worship and sacrifice rites.
The mountain territories represent an archeological interest including the cult places, petroglyphs, the pilgrim paths, the Bronze Age settlement, fortifications, and different architectural and irrigation constructions.