Central Asia: The Land the West Forgot – Bangkok Post

Source: Bangkok Post
For decades _ centuries even _ much of the world has regarded Central Asia as little more than a blank on the map, synonymous not with the centre of Asia but with the middle of nowhere. Yet for two millennia, the deserts, grasslands, oases and mountain ranges between the Caspian Sea and China were a thoroughfare for Silk Road traders, nomadic empires and migrating invaders, tying together Europe and Asia on the Eurasian steppes.

Central Asia’s storybook history, from Alexander the Great to the khans of Khiva, litters the land at every turn. At times the storied caravan stops of Samarkand and Bukhara, with their exotic skyline of minarets and medressas, seem lifted directly from the days of Marco Polo and Chinggis (Genghis) Khan. Even today you’ll get a powerful whiff of the Silk Road downwind of an Uzbek kebab seller and glimpse a hint of a nomadic past in the eyes of a Kazakh businessman.

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