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Kattullus (2)

Yes, Kazakhstan should change its name. This map shows why.

"Life-long Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has suggested changing his country's name to make it friendlier to investors and tourists. It's obviously a little silly to change your country's name for marketing purposes. But there may be more meaningful reasons for the country to change its name..." An interesting perspective from Max Fisher at the Washington Post.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Feb 11, 2014 - 33 comments

"Look 'round thee now on Samarcand, is she not queen of earth?"

In the first years of the Fifteenth Century Henry III of Castile sent Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo as his ambassador to Samarkand. His journey introduced him to giraffes and many other sights unknown to Europeans of the time. Samarkand was then the center of the largest empire in the world, that of Tamerlane the Great (a.k.a Timur), the last of the nomad conquerors. His capital began as a city of the Sogdians, which became an important center of culture and trade, as is recorded in these 7th Century wall paintings. Samarkand was refashioned by Timur and his descendants, the most famous being the astronomer Ulugh Beg, and the Timurid legacy is still visible in Samarkand. After Timur's death, his empire disintegrated, and soon fell into decline, but left enough of a mark to inspire both Christopher Marlowe and Edgar Allan Poe. The Russian Empire conquered Samarkand in 1868, and the city was documented in the early 20th Century in color photograhs by Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii (this one's a favorite) and remained an out of the way place in the Soviet era.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 27, 2012 - 15 comments

"US reaps bitter harvest from 'Tulip' revolution."

It will look cynical indeed if Washington once again tries to paint itself as a champion of democratic values in the Central Asian region. 'Evidently, there has been a massive breakdown in US diplomacy in Central Asia. Things were going rather well lately until this setback. For the first time it seemed Washington had succeeded in the Great Game by getting a grip on the Kyrgyz regime, though the achievement involved a cold-blooded jettisoning of all norms of democracy, human rights and rule of law that the US commonly champions. By all accounts, Washington just bought up the Bakiyev family lock stock and barrel, overlooking its controversial record of misuse of office.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Apr 13, 2010 - 9 comments

Choosing Central Asia for a bride

Fascinated by the Orient An exhibition of the letters, photographs and maps bequeathed to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences by the great explorer, archaeologist, geographer and Sanskritist Sir Marc Aurel Stein. Journeyer in the footsteps of Alexander, explorer of Central Asia and West China, surveyor of the antiquities of India and Iran; after a long life of journeying through and studying central Asia, Aurel Stein found his final rest in Kabul. He is also remembered for rediscovering the oldest dated printed book still in existence, a copy of the Diamond Sutra in the caves at Mogao. That the latter and many thousands of other manuscripts collected by Stein now reside in the British Library is of course, like his other 'treasure hunting', not without controversy.
posted by Abiezer on Jan 4, 2010 - 4 comments

Central Asia, from the middle ages, through Timur

Rediscovering Central Asia is an article by historian and archaeologist S. Frederick Starr, about the Islamic Central Asian intellectual flowering between 800 and 1100, when scientists like Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and al-Biruni debated such questions as the existence of other solar systems and whether god created the animals. Starr then traces Central Asia's slide in influence and power. The last great Central Asian empire was that of Timur, known in the West as Tamerlane the Great, who ruled from 1370-1405. One of the great early works of Spanish literature was the travel account of Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo, ambassador of Spain to Timur's court, which can be read in full on Google Books or downloaded as a pdf.
posted by Kattullus on Dec 25, 2009 - 17 comments

Photo essay: Women at risk in central Asia's heroin highway

House of Happiness - photos by Rena Effendi of women in the Ferghana Valley, part of central Asia's ancient Silk Route now known as "the heroin highway" - "a geographical and cultural mishmash where three countries and many ethnicities cluster." More about the photos. (Some photos NSFW) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Dec 17, 2009 - 14 comments

It's Mine - No, it's Mine.

Pipelineistan Goes Af-Pak, the second article from Pepe Escobar; Asia Times reporter after his Postcard from Pipelineistan - Liquid War.
Energy Wars for the 21st Century as recently indicated by Moscow. ( previous ).
posted by adamvasco on May 15, 2009 - 11 comments

Carolyn Drake Photography

Carolyn Drake Photography. Pictures of Central Asia and Eastern Europe. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 17, 2008 - 7 comments

Never did plan to go, anyway

Kyrgyzstan, ever heard of it? The place is quickly going down the toilet, so no worries, you aren't missing much.
posted by Meatbomb on Jan 14, 2006 - 16 comments

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