People have been making their way across the country for millennia as traders. One of the oldest trade routes is the Silk Road, which once connected the Mediterranean overland with Central and East Asia. For about 1,500 years (from 100 BC to the 14th century AD), camel caravans were used to pick up Chinese silk that was much sought-after in Europe and trade it for gold, silver and glass. On the Silk Road, however, it wasn’t only goods but also world views that were transported, here cultures mixed together for centuries. Central Asia was an important crossroads as trade routes from India, Persia and the Arab region also intersected in what is now Uzbekistan.Tashkent, Bukhara and Samarkand aren’t just monuments to this exchange.
Still today the magical appeal of the oasis city of Bukhara can be felt. After months of deprivation during the journey in the form of brown-yellow, inhospitable landscapes, the traders would make a stop in this heavenly beautiful spot. Ornate mosques and madrassas adorned in blue tiles, with fountains tinkling in courtyards and people resting under mulberry trees, still hint at the magical effect it must have had on the traders back then. Today it’s tourists who are awed by the blue and turquoise tiled façades.
Text: Karin Pollack
Photo(s): Pauline Thurn und Taxis