Wednesday, 9 November 2011
Beatrice hits the Silk Road
Oke, it's not about the history of the Silk Road but Beatrice is old enough to have met Aurel Stein in his days!
A 92-year-old Welsh lady realises a lifetime romantic dream, travelling throughout Uzbekistan to visit the fabled Silk Road trading centres of Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and the remote walled desert city of Khiva. She visits the magnificent tomb of the emperor Timur the Lame, known to us as Tamberlane, and the Registan, described by Lord Curzon in 1899 as "still, even in its ruin, the noblest public square in the world", now gloriously restored. She tours Shakhrisabz, where Tamur was born and is still celebrated. She inspects the Ark Fortress where the Emir imprisoned the British agents Captain Conolly and Colonel Stoddart in the 'bug pit' for four years before having them beheaded, a grim contrast to the exquisite Ismail Samani Mausoleum, built of mud-bricks a thousand years ago, and preserved from the depredations of Ghengis Khan only because it had been buried under the desert sands. Her journey is an appreciative tour through the glories of Islamic architecture and artistic handcrafts.