The Silk Road Series 12/16: Two Roads to the Pamirs

Two Roads to the Pamirs

As I mentioned when I first started this series of documentaries on the Silk Road, there were actually 24 episodes in the original series but only 12 of them have been translated into English. It may be my Chinese readers can find the others available somewhere online, but I have been unable to find them.

If there was someone a little enterprising out there, I still think it would be worthwhile getting the rest of the series available in English, as it is really classic material and in fact now that we are 30 years on, they stand in their own right as an ethnological record of peoples and times that have already changed considerably.

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 town has many ethnically diverse peoples and the team visit their bazaars, markets, and has a look at the various handicrafts which are still flourishing in the town.

After leaving the town they visit some of the ancient caves, but there is nothing much to see as all the murals and statues from the ancient Buddhist culture have been destroyed by iconoclasts and the weathering of time.

They then climb to over 5,000 metres to pass through the Pamir mountains and cross the gateway into Afghanistan, which gives entry to India in the south, and Iran and Europe in the west.

It was this route that Xuan-zang took on his return journey to China in the 7th century, and we are reminded once again of the difficulties that brave monk went through in order to bring the teachings back to his homeland.

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