Fifty kilometers southwest of Kashgar in the remote northwest Xinjiang province of China lies Upal (Opal), a Uyghur market oasis strategically located on the old Silk Road between China and Pakistan. Upal is the final home and resting place of the first man of Turkish words: Mahmud Kashgari (c. 1029-c. 1101) the eleventh century lexicographer of the Divan-I Lugat al-turk, or dictionary of the Turkish language. According to the Encyclopedia of Islam, Kashgari was born Mahmud Kashgari ibn Husayn ibn Muhammad in Barskhan (Barsghan) on the shore of Lake Issyk-kul in present-day Kyrgyzstan (although some sources say he was born in Kashgar, hence his surname) into an aristocratic Uyghur family of scholars connected on his father’s side to the reigning Karakhnid Dynasty. His mother, of Arab descent, was an intellectual named Bibi Rābiy’a al-Basrī after the pious female Sufi saint from Baghdad. Continue reading →
Continuing the Traditions of Kyrgyzstan – in Cornwall
The yurts are tucked into a fold of the valley, hidden from the path. I walk down a steep slope, glimpsing the curve of tunduks. Grass crunches under foot, crispy as it emerges from heavy winter snow. A river rumbles over boulders; delicate white flowers decorate the ground. I can see no other signs of habitation and hear only the water and pheasants calling across the fields. Here, on the edge of wild Bodmin Moor, where sheep and horses graze freely, I feel as if I am back in Kyrgyzstan. In this remote Cornish valley, Tim Hutton is creating a yurt camp where visitors can enjoy the peace of living with nature. He makes the yurts himself using methods learnt in Kyrgyzstan. In this secluded valley, the traditional crafts of Kyrgyzstan are being continued and celebrated. Continue reading →
Irish Senator, Fiona O’Malley, volunteered through VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) with The State Committee on Youth Affairs, Sports and Tourism of Tajikistan and the local government of Penjkent. Open Central Asia tracked her down to get an exclusive interview.
Please tell us a little bit about your background?
I have been in politics for more than ten years – as a counsellor, TD and Senator. The Prime Minister of Ireland (Taoiseach) appointed me to the upper house of The Irish Parliament in 2007. I am a public servant and believe passionately in my responsibility to represent the people who put me where I am today. Continue reading →
“Seek the strongest colour effect possible … the content is of no importance”
For many centuries the Silk Road was a great highway for the export of luxury goods from China to Europe. Silk, fabrics, porcelain, furs, spices, gems, carpets and other exotic goods of Asia moved along this “road” to the West. In the 19th century the Ikat fabrics from Central Asia became very popular among the traders on the Silk Road. Samarkand and Bukhara became the centres of the finest Ikat fabric production called the Han Atlas, which is a 100% percent natural hand-woven and hand-dyed fabric. Its pattern and design was an indication of luxury, power and high social status. Continue reading →
By Taleh Ziyadov
For centuries, Azerbaijan acted as a natural crossroads for the ancient Silk Road between Europe and Asia and a home to the world’s diverse cultures, religions and peoples. It has also been endowed with abundant natural resources, of which oil has become the most acknowledged and remembered. Continue reading →
Dushanbe is the capital and largest city in Tajikistan. Originally, this city was only a small village made famous by its Monday Market that has been in operation since the late 17th century. Afterall, the name, Dushanbe, is derived from the Tajik word for Monday. Following the Red Army’s victory in Central Asia, the village was upgraded to a town in 1925 and made the capital of the newly created Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Tadjik ASSR). After the transformation of the Tajik ASSR to the Tadjik Soviet Socialist Republic (Tajik SSR) in 1929, Dushanbe was renamed Stalinabad, after Joseph Stalin. Continue reading →