“Two thousand years ago, caravans of pack animals and traders followed a route west from their home in China over the Steppe of Central Asia and into the fertile valleys of Europe, bringing with them silk, porcelain and spices. When adventurous Europeans traveled the Silk Road in the opposite direction, they came back with knowledge that changed the destiny of Western Civilization. Experience the history, culture and people that link the living cities and ancient ruins lining the Silk Road.”
The above is the introduction to the Program Summary by Road Scholar about a wonderful educational trip to the five “Stans”. Kyrgystan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
“In the heart of the Asian continent, where mighty conquerors and trading caravans once strode the Silk Road, the “seven Stans” weave a carpet of many colors. Prior to 1991 maps showed only Afghanistan and Pakistan. Then came the Soviet Union breakup and the birth of five new nations: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Today, these independent states continue to forge identities amid continuing conflicts.”
- In the upcoming posts I will present photos taken on our recent trip “On the Silk Road in Central Asia”.
Some years ago we traveled along the part of the Silk Road in China, perhaps a few of those pictures will also be featured.
- In preparation for this trip I read many books, some Fiction, but mostly Nonfiction including: Raiders from the North by Alex Rutherford, Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan, by Hildi Kang, Shadow of the Silk Road Colin Thubron, Journeys on the Silk Road by Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters, The Cancer Ward Alexander Sulzhenitsyn, The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk, The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan. All were interestong because I hadn’t read much about the karea. If any of you are interested I would highly recommend the last two, amazing incites and history.
- Before we left the States we were advised that the Stans produced beautiful Arts and Crafts. We were able to view and purchase examples of this in each country.
A map of the Central Asia relates the potentially explosive region in which these Countries are located.
The Stans got their Independence from USSR two Decades ago and the path the countries have taken since the independence is somewhat different. For more reading check your local library.
Kyrgyzstan was the first Stan that we visited. A sign that I photographed in Bishkek impressed me–I have included it in this Introduction to the Silk Road series on my site.