Thursday, November 7, 2019

Traveling the Silk Road: Uzbekistan (video)

DW Documentary (German PBS); Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

The people, history, and culture of Uzbekistan
(Traveling the Silk Road, DW Documentary, March 1, 2017) With its magical buildings, fascinating landscapes, and friendly people, Uzbekistan has a lot to offer. It is a country caught between rich traditions and modernity.

Wild equestrian games, fairytale palaces, and hospitable people proud of their magnificent culture --all of this is encountered by those traveling through Uzbekistan along the Silk Road.

The Central Asian country borders Kazakhstan to the north and Afghanistan to the south. The journey begins in Samarkand, one of Central Asia’s oldest cities.

For centuries cities like Samarkand, Bukhara (Boukhara, Buddha?), and Khiva provided the necessary infrastructure for caravans on the Silk Road, allowing merchants to trade goods and providing accommodation for them and their animals.

Many buildings survive to underline the splendor and wealth that trade once generated. Samarkand is  one of the world’s oldest cities, with three outstanding Koran schools, known as madrasas, on Registan Square. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The Buddha's family, the Shakyas/Scythians, were settled nomads, Sakas (Saccans), an equestrian peoples, extended family tribes. And young Prince Siddhartha Gautama (Shakya clan) had a prized white pony named Kanthaka, and was skilled in horse riding, archery, and sports. They were a "proud" people, the Buddha later explained, war-like and guarding their territory, accruing their riches due to the Silk Road in a far off hinterland that would seem to be in the middle of nowhere (Afghanistan according to Dr. Ranajit Pal).
In the Boysun Region in the Hissar Mountains the ancient, and none-too-gentle riding game known as kopkari is held at Nowruz, the traditional New Year festival. More than 100 horsemen try to pick up the body of a dead goat (as is played in Afghanistan, an apparent forebear of British and American pigskin games like rugby, soccer, and football) from the ground and to escape with this from all the others.

In 1380 the Uzbek folk hero Amir Timur (Tamerlane) had the gigantic Ak Sarav, "White Palace," built in Shahrisabz, the town of his birth. It had a thousand rooms adorned with gemstones.

Exciting, powerful, and informative – DW Documentary is always close to current affairs and international events. Our eclectic mix of award-winning films and reports take you straight to the heart of the story. Dive into different cultures, journey across distant lands, and discover the inner workings of modern-day life.

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