Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Tashkent and Konya Urgench all lay on the old Silk Road which extended from Luoyang (near Xi’An) in the East to Constantinople and Venice in the West, and down to Patna and Calcutta in the South. They grew as important staging posts and cross roads on the network of tracks that constituted the Silk Road.
The territory has been the centre of conflict throughout history. Alexander left his mark here, Muslim armies converted the people to Islam in the 7th and 8th centuries, the Sassanids, Huns, Sogdians and Turkic tribes amongst others left indelible traces of their cultures. The Mongols led by Genghis Khan ransacked the area in the 13th century. By the time Timur (Tamerlane the Great) arrived some 200 years later much had been rebuilt to be destroyed once again. However, Timur was also a builder of monuments so massive that some could not support their own weight - they began to collapse even before completion. Nevertheless, much of the ancient architecture we see today owes its presence to him and his successors, and continues to inspire us with awe.
This photographic journey begins in Tashkent and continues through Khiva, Konya Urgench (in Turkmenistan), Bukhara (including a side trip to Gijduvan and Vabkent), Shahrisabz, and Samarkand ending 11 days later in Tashkent. The images in the book were mostly taken by Vince Harris with additional photography from Imran Tyabji and Christine Richardson.
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