Diary Along the Silk Road
The journey from Muscat to Kashgar city was one of the most enjoyable trips I have ever had along the Silk Road. Kashgar city is located to the east of Muscat. Silk Road is a route joining the Asian countries to both China and the Mediterranean Sea. The distance between Muscat and Kashgar is approximately 2400 kilometers. My journey took many days to reach Kashgar city as I spent most of the time studying various aspects of different regions along the Silk Road. It was a trip meant to explore activities that took place in urban centers along the Silk Road. This paper presents a diary recording my encounter during the journey along the silk road (Verity & Stanford, 1999).
On the first day, I went to Bam city that is located to the east of Muscat. Bam City is among the towns in Iran. The Iranian census carried out in 2006 revealed that the area had a population close to 70000. There are numerous historical buildings in the city. I realized that the town had been a trading city from the early days. I learned that it developed as both agricultural and industrial Centre. Within the city and the outskirts, there were palm groves, an indication that the town traded mostly in cotton products. Arguably, cotton was used in the manufacture of clothes and turbans that were sold to Mesopotamia. The inhabitants got their income from the sale of their agricultural products. The export of turbans ensured that the traders got their source of livelihood that raised their standards of living. Additionally, the town developed as a result of many tourists coming to see the city. I later learned that earthquake occurred in the year 2003 killing several people and a lot of property lost. Even though the city had few inhabitants, it was evident that it was a trading Centre in the early days. I realized that there was a major earthquake in the city in the year 2003 that affected the productivity of the city, and several people were killed. Following the occurrence of the earthquake in 2003, the city is undergoing constant constructions to stabilize the city again.
On my second day of the journey, I went to Bamiyan valley. I learned that Bamiyan grew mainly because it facilitated the spread of Buddhism. The inhabitants of the valley were Buddhists as there were large Buddha figures along the valley. The primary challenge I encountered along the valley was walking along rugged terrain as I adventured in the valley. To acquire more information concerning the valley, I toured the Valley to observe various historic buildings within the valley. The valley had caves that had decorations of the ancient inhabitants of the Bamiyan Valley. Additionally, the paintings showed a variety of items that were used by the Buddhists who inhabited the valley (Rudelson & Rudelson 1997).
On the third day of the trip, I visited Shahrisabz, the capital city of Tamerlane in southern Uzbekistan. The city is believed to be one of the largest cities with a large population along the Silk Road. The Shahrisabz city experiences very high temperatures and dry summers as well as chilly and dripping winters. The city is inhabited by the Barlas tribe who majorly concentrated on agriculture. They grew cash crops, which were traded along the Silk Road. Cotton and wheat were the main cash crops cultivated in the city (Viegas & Seyllar, 2003). In this city, there are many historical sites, which attracted many traders passing along the Silk Road to adventure. During my encounter, I first visited the mausoleum of Timur. It is the place where Timur, the discoverer of Tamerlane also the captor of the pastoralists’ community, was laid to rest. I visited Hazrat-i Imam Complex; a place where Timurs preferred and the eldest son was buried. Additionally, there was the Ak-Saray Palace, which was the white and the summer palace for Timur. It was one of the most recognized and respected constructions of Timur. The palace had some bluish, whitish, and gold mosaics. In this building, I noticed some letters above the entrance which read, “If you challenge our power – look at our buildings!” On my way from the Ak-Saray Palace, I managed to get to the Kok Gumbaz Mosque. In my encounter, I learned that the mosque was built by Ulugh Beg as a tribute to his father. In this city, the Islamic religion was highly practiced, which was a major challenge to the Christian community who were visiting the city.
On the last day, I toured the city of Balkh. This was one of the oldest cities along the Silk Road where Buddhism was the main religion. The Balkh province borders Uzbekistan Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. The Balkh city was the capital of Bactria. In my tour in this province, I managed to visit two main temples: The Trapusa and Bahalika. The names were for the good memories of the two disciples of Buddha. Apart from their religion, I also discovered that they planted vegetables, watermelons, and cucumbers. The climate in this province is very dry and it hardly rains (Chen & Wang, 2009). The horticultural crops are watered from the created canals. This was aided by the technological advances in irrigation schemes, and crop rotation was also a major issue in the province. I found the life in Balkh unbearable due to the fact that water was a key problem and the hot and dry climate affected my short time encounter (Yao & Zhang, 2004).
There were various shortcomings I experienced during the journey. As I inquired more about different activities in different areas, I experienced language barrier with the locals. It took a lot of my time to look for an interpreter because I needed facts from the regions. Additionally, it was hard to get used to the environment of various cities. Moreover, in the process of acquiring more information, I had to walk through unfamiliar routes to gather additional facts.
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