Kyrk Gyz Cave

Forty Girls' Cave - Cave of Forty Girls - Cave of the Forty Maidens

Useful Information

Location: South-eastern Turkmenistan, at the border to Uzbekistan.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:  
Address: Kyrk Gyz Cave.
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Kyrk Gyz Cave (Forty Girls' Cave) is located in a spectacular canyon in the far south-eastern corner of Turkmenistan at the border to Uzbekistan. The Kugitang-Tau mountain ridge offers numerous geologic sites and is on the World Heritage List. The cave Kyrk Gyz is as close as possible to a show cave for this remote location. It is developed with trails and frequented by tourist groups. An unmarked tomb is located in the entrance hall. The strangest sight of the cave are bits of mud from which dangle strips of cloth on the ceiling. According to legend a wish is granted, if the visitor can fling a mud pie with a cloth to the ceiling and make it stick. The same legend explains the name of the cave and the tomb.

In order to avoid rape and murder by bandits, forty local maidens retreated to the cave. Here they stayed, fed by a kind old woman, until she was followed to the hide out and the girls were discovered. Before the old woman was cut down, she managed to alert the maidens, allowing them time to pray to the gods, who showed them a route through the caves to the cliff top where upon they sprouted wings and flew to heaven. In the cave today lies the tomb of the old lady, which is considered a holy place, and above it are literally thousands of silk wishing tassels, attached to the roof of the cave with wet mud.

Old legend