Travel Talk: Cities of the Medieval Silk Road

Travel Talk: The Cities and Routes of the Medieval Silk Road


Join us for an illustrated talk as we explore the cities of the medieval Silk Road with Dr Paul Wordsworth, an expert on Islamic archaeology and ancient Central Asian trade routes.

Before the opening of the sea route around the Horn of Africa in the 16th century, the principal way valuable merchandise travelled between China, India and Europe was overland, via the vast deserts and mountain ranges of Central Asia. Silk, a fibre whose origins were kept a closely guarded secret for thousands of years by the Chinese, formed the mainstay of this ancient trade, which is why the tangle of tracks along which it travelled came to be known as the ‘Silk Road’.

Writers from Goethe to Keats were fascinated by the near-mythic cities that punctuated the trade arteries: Yarkhand, Kashgar, Bishkek, Khiva, Samarkand and Bukhara... Their very names evoke images of great caravans of twin-humped Bactrian camels marching across vast, undulating steppes, of turquoise-tiled minarets and of fabulous bazaars.

Dr Wordsworth is a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, focusing on the archaeology of the medieval Caucasus and Central Asia.

When: Friday 17th November 2017

Time: Doors open at 18:30. Talk starts at 19:00

Where: The Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, 41 Holland Park, London W11 3RP