Friday, January 08, 2010

IOT: Samarkand, the Sogdians and the Silk Road

Once it was Maracanda, ruled by Alexandere. Centuries later, before Rome fell, the Persian speaking Sogdians flourished there, at the heart of the a historically trading empire that lasted from before 300 CE until after 700 CE. They were the traders of the Silk Road, and the conduits for Buddhism and much knowledge of China, India, Asia and places West.

Later their city became a place of Arab history - Samarkand.

Today Samarkand is in Uzbekistan ...

It's a hike, but it's a city of about 400,000 and it's open for tourism. In Google earth you can see their photos.

You can learn the story of the Sogdians, and a surprising amount of China's endless story by listening to ...

BBC - Radio 4 - In Our Time - The Silk Road

In 1900, a Taoist monk came upon a cave near the Chinese town of Dunhuang. Inside, he found thousands of ancient manuscripts. They revealed a vast amount of evidence about the so-called ‘Silk Road’: the great trade routes which had stretched from Central Asia, through desert oases, to China, throughout the first millennium....

Most of what we know of this people comes from a small cache of lost Sogdian mail, and the stories the Chinese told of the them. If not for that accident, we'd know almost nothing.

And yet, they changed the course of history.

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