7 Tidbits About Silk Route Countries
Here are seven more tidbits about Silk Road countries:
The world’s second-largest collection of Russian avant-garde art is in western Uzbekistan at the amazing Savitsky Art Museum. Its founder, Igor Savitsky, rescued thousands of banned avant-garde Russian art pieces from the disapproving Soviets.
The Kara Kum Desert takes up 80% of this sparsely populated country. There are hidden treasures – countless archaeological sites that lie half-buried under these desert sands. “Kara Kum” means “black sands.”
Mountainous Tajikistan is one of the last undiscovered travel destinations, with scenery as gorgeous as can be seen anywhere in the world. Afraid of heights? The country’s Pamir Highway is the world’s second-highest altitude international highway at 15,272 feet, climbing both dizzying Kyzyl-Art Pass and Ak-Baital Pass.
Kyrgystan’s beautiful Lake Issyk-Kul is the second-largest high-altitude lake in the world, after Titicaca. A slightly saline lake with no outlet, Issyk-Kul means “warm lake,” referring to the fact that it never freezes, despite its high elevation.
Almost as large as all of Western Europe, Kazakhstan is home to semi-nomadic herders who make good use of their arid steppe that fully covers one-third of the country. It’s also Central Asia’s wealthiest country, mainly because of its vast supplies of oil and gas.
For many of us the year is 2015, but in Iran (and Afghanistan) it’s 1392, with New Year’s celebrated on the vernal equinox in springtime. The Iranian calendar begins with the year that the prophet Mohammed migrated from Mecca to Medina – 622 AD in the Gregorian calendar.
7. Western China
The Xinjiang Regional Museum is best known for its collection of mummies and other preserved bodies discovered in area tombs, including the “Luolan Beauty,” the nearly 4,000-year-old body of a woman in fur sandals believed to be of Indo-European descent.
Several MIR tours to these Silk Route destinations include:
- Silk Route Odyssey: Caravan Across Uzbekistan
- China’s Silk Road & Tibet: Route of Monks & Merchants
- The Silk Road by Private Train – Moscow to Bejing, and reverse
- Ancient Persia – Modern Iran
- Once Forbidden Lands of Central Asia & Iran
- Journey Through Central Asia: The Five ‘Stans
(Top photo credit: Douglas Grimes – The celestial dome of Turabek-Khanum Mausoleum in Kunya Urgench, Turkmenistan)
PUBLISHED: December 30, 2014