Silkroad - Seidenstraße

Epic travel with my friend Arthur along eastern Silk Road in 1999. Starting in the far east from Urumqi (or orÜrümqi, Urumtschi, 乌鲁木齐市, Pinyin Wūlǔmùqí Shì, ئۈرۈمچى شەھىرى, Urumchi), the capital of chinese province of Xinjiang (or Sinkiang, Xīnjiāng Wéiwú’ěr zìzhìqū) we crossed the Taklamakan Desert westward quite close to the Tian Shan Mountains, the northern continuation of Himalaya and Pamir. The last uyghur town was Kashgar, a 2000 years old melting pot near the border with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

From Kashgra we went north up the Tian Shan to enter Kyrgyzstan (Kirghizia, Kirgizia) - a poor country with friendly people lucky to be independant from former Soviet Union and beeing able to lead their original life alpine pastures up to 3.000 m. Kyrgysh are born on horseback. See some pictures of infants learning to ride. Bishkek, the capital, seemed to be little more than a provincial town.

On the northern foot of Tian Shan Mountains we turned west again going straight through Kasachstan heading for Tashkent, big city of 2 million and capital of Uzbekistan. The city has rich tradition way back to the times of Alexander the Great who was in Uzbekistan. It is well known for its islamic heritage and the people - even more the everlasting president Islam Karimov - love theit mongolian history especially of the cruel conqueror Tamerlan. The country was hot and mostly dry exept for the endless cotton fields for which the Aral Sea is bound do die. The other exeption are towns of celestial beauty (at ceratin spots): Bukhara and Samarkand. They testify to what islam once was capable of. Both the Historic Centre of Bukhara and Samarkand as "Crossroad of Cultures" are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.