This is a wonderful collection of colour and black and white film taken in Tibet during the last years of its independence, as it has been preserved by the British Film Institute.
In this last episode we first visit Kashgar, the Town of Beautiful Tiles, which is where the Silk Road meets up again, after crossing the Taklamakan desert via two different roads.
The silk road featured some beautiful music by someone who was barely known at the time, and who was brought to prominence by writing the haunting theme music for the series, the Japanese musician Kitaro.
This week the expedition, which has been traveling along the southern trade routes, doubles back and explores the area along the northern route.
The theme that runs throughout this week’s episode is music and dance. It includes some of the most interesting ethnographic photography of the Uighars in Kucha along the southern route passing through the Tian Shan mountains.
Although there is little of archeological interest in this episode, it remains one of the most memorable as the team take a trip along the newly constructed Turfan to Korla railway, which must be one of the really great railway journeys in the world.
The expedition continues its journey westwards through Turfan, The Land of Fire, visiting a dried-up lake 150 metres below sea level, and the Fire Mountains on the way.
There is very little archeology or art in this episode. The expedition flies over the desert in search of the ruins at Dan-dan Oilik, which was visited by Aurel Stein, but fails to find it as it had been covered by the desert at the time.
When I was young, which seems quite a long time ago by now 🙂 it was the case that you could ask anyone where they were and what they were doing when they heard that President Kennedy had been assassinated and they would certainly be able to tell you.