Rabati Malik, also called Ribat-i Malik, is a caravanserai ruin located on the M37 road from Samarkand to Bukhara about a kilometer west of the edge of Malik, Navoiy Province, Uzbekistan, which was constructed along the silk road according to the orders of Karakhanid Shams-al-Mulk Nasr, son of Tamgachkhan Ibragim, who ruled in Samarkand from 1068 until 1080.
The portal of the caravanserai – which is one of the most ancient places among the Central Asia portals – peshtak with the central lancet arch of the niche in which there is a rectangular doorway. The arch concludes with a П-shaped frame, executed from carved terracotta in the form of eight final stars connected with each other, limited by intertwining tapes. The ring is decorated by Arabic inscriptions. On overhanging walls, under the layers of repair plaster, the remains of ancient ganched plasters with figures of vegetative characters are traced.
The portal, as well as all caravanserais, has been laid out from adobe brick with the subsequent facing baked bricks measuring 25х 25 х 4 cm in size, on the ganched solution. The average height of the kept walls ranges from 0,4 up to 0,7 m. The caravanserai occupies – 8277 sq. m.
Rabat-i Mâlik holds a special place in the history of Iranian architecture. This is due to its impressive façade treatment of ornamental embedded cylindrical columns on the walls flanking the main entrance portal. The large, brick semi-columns were connected at the top by arches—a rare façade decor found on the flanking walls of the 2500-year-old Apadana palace at Persepolis, and at such Parthian and Sasanian monuments such as Firuzabad. The only other building of the Islamic period that contains such a treatment, is found on the minaret of Jarkurgan/Dzharkurgan in the neighbouring Surkhondaryo province of Uzbekistan.
Regrettably, except for the entrance portal that was badly damaged, the earthquake of 1968 totally demolished what was left of the rest of the rabat, including the landmark flanking walls with the semi-column decorations. Luckily, detailed monochrome photographs are available of the old flanking walls to document this landmark building and help with accurate restorations in the future.
To date, the entire complex is presented only by the foundation and the entrance portal, where unknown masters have knocked out the ancient inscription: "The monument was erected by the sultan of the world and this ruinous place became blessed..."
Rabat i Malik is the only palace of the Karakhanid era that has survived to this day. In addition to the summer residence, it also served as a well-fortified fortress, as evidenced by the remains of the fortress walls reaching in some places more than 1.70 m in width. During the excavations of Rabat I-Malik, two courtyards, a gallery, a mosque and a bathhouse were discovered.
All the rooms were richly decorated with carved ganch and terracotta. Later, after the collapse of the Karakhanid state, Amir Temur stayed here, and Sheibanid dynasty after him. Designed as a fortified inn, it functioned until the early 18th century.
On the opposite side of the road a hundred meters from Rabat i Malik located Sardoba Malik - a giant cistern used for water conservation that was fed through an underground channel from the Zeravshan River. Technically, the sardoba is a reservoir 13 meters deep, covered with a dome 12 meters in diameter. At the base of the dome are three light windows, at the entrance - a small entrance leading to the descent into the tank. Sardoba was built in the 11th century to supply the Rabat Malik caravanserai.