Parau-Bibi, Turkemnistan

A little white mosque Parau-bibi is one of the most honored pilgrim places of Turkmenistan. It stands all by itself on one of the Kopet Dagh rocks.

According to a legend, Parau-bibi was a beautiful girl who lived in a village. One day the people decided to buy-off their safety and hand her to the oncoming enemies. She managed to escape. Parau-bibi hid in the mountains and started pray ing . Eventually the rock opened and hid her for ever. T his place now is marked by a mosque.

Parau-bibi was the patroness of pregnant women and children in Turkmen mythology. Before labor woman observed a special ritual. The women from entire Turkmenistan gather there and ask her to help them: they beg for beauty, a good husband and children.

A curved starcase leads to the mosque. Halfway there you can see the prints in the rock - they were left by Parau-bibi's knee, elbow, finger and forehead. Young pilgrims touch them and pray.

Another story tells that the crescent stones lying at some distance used to be melon slices which panicing Parau-bibi threw to the approaching enemies. There is a tradition to step on them. If a stone starts rotating after a young woman steps on it - everything is going to be good. If it does not, a woman should come to this remarkable place again next year.