Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tralala lala

.. yup, i've been a busy lil bee indeed i have ;)

Hehehe.

(But i'm still missing u la abe!!)

Anyways.

While golfman was in tashkent he stayed at the dedeman hotel and after indulging in a little googling, i soon realise that its located along the illustrious & historic silk road!

Ahh the silk road. the west has successfully implanted the imagery of rich silk and exotic oppulence into our minds at the mention of the name.

A trade route. how apt that a modern day trader like the hubs should be connected to it somehow... but incidentally, during that time it was also the means for a fast & effective spread of religion.

For those interested, here's a short read about the silk route in connection to the present.

The Present Day
The Silk Road, after a long period of hibernation, has been increasing in importance again recently.

The fight of man against the desert, one of the biggest problems for the early travellers, is finally gaining ground. There has been some progress in controlling the progress of the shifting sands, which had previously meant having to resite settlements. The construction of roads around the edges of the Taklimakan has eased access, and the discovery of large oil reserves under the desert has encouraged this development. The area is rapidly being industrialised, and Urumchi, the present capital of Xinjiang, has become a particularly unprepossessing Han Chinese industrial city.

The trade route itself is also being reopened. The sluggish trade between the peoples of Xinjiang and those of the Soviet Union has developed quickly; trade with the C.I.S. is picking up rapidly with a flourishing trade in consumer items as well as heavy industry. The new Central Asian republics had previously contributed much of the heavy industry of the former Soviet Union, with a reliance for consumer goods on Russia. Trade with China is therefore starting to fulfill this demand. This trading has been encouraged by the recent trend towards a `socialist market economy' in China, and the increasing freedom of movement being allowed, particularly for the minorities such as those in Xinjiang. Many of these nationalities are now participating in cross-border trade, regularly making the journey to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The railway connecting Lanzhou to Urumchi has been extended to the border with Kazakhstan, where on 12th September 1990 it was finally joined to the former Soviet railway system, providing an important route to the new republics and beyond. This Eurasian Continental Bridge, built to rival the Trans-Siberian Railway, has been constructed from LianYunGang city in Jiangsu province (on the East China coast) to Rotterdam; the first phase of this development has already been completed, and the official opening of the railway was held on 1st December 1992. It is already promised to be at least 20% cheaper than the route by sea, and at 11,000 kilometres is significantly shorter. From China the route passes through Kazakhstan, Russia, Byelorussia and Poland, before reaching Germany and the Netherlands. The double-tracking of the railway from Lanzhou to the border of the C.I.S. has now been put high on the Chinese development priority list.

Restoration and Tourism
Since the intervention of the West last century, interest has been growing in this ancient trade route. The books written by Stein, Hedin and others have brought the perceived oriental mystery of the route into western common knowledge. Instilled with such romantic ideals as following in the footsteps of Marco Polo, a rapidly increasing number of people have been interested in visiting these desolate places. Since China opened its doors to foreign tourists at the end of the 1970s, it has realised how much foreign currency can be brought to the country by tapping this tourist potential. This has encouraged the authorities to do their best to protect the remaining sites; restoration of many of the sites is presently underway. The Mogao grottos were probably the first place to attract this attention; the Dunhuang Research Institute has been studying and preserving the remains of the grottos, as well as what was left of the library. Restoration is presently underway; the outside of the grottos was faced in a special concrete to prevent further subsidence, and some of the murals are being touched up by a team of specially trained artists and craftsmen.

Archaeological excavations have been started by the Chinese where the foreigners laid off; significant finds have been produced from such sites as the Astana tombs, where the dead from the city of Gaochang were buried. Finds of murals and clothing amongst the grave goods have increased knowledge of life along the old Silk Road; the dryness of the climate has helped preserve the bodies of the dead, as well as their garments. There is still a lot to see around the Taklimakan, mostly in the form of damaged grottos and ruined cities. Whilst some people are drawn by the archaeology, others are attracted by the minority peoples; there are thirteen different races of people in the region, apart from the Han Chinese, from the Tibetans and Mongolians in the east of the region, to the Tajik, Kazakhs and Uzbeks in the west. Others are drawn to the mysterious cities such as Kashgar, where the Sunday market maintains much of the old Silk Road spirit, with people of many different nationalities selling everything from spice and wool to livestock and silver knives. Many of the present-day travellers are Japanese, visiting the places where their Buddhist religion passed on its way to Japan. Although Xinjiang is opening up, it is still not an easy place to travel around. Apart from the harsh climate and geography, many of the places are not fully open yet, and, perhaps understandably, the authorities are not keen on allowing foreigners to wander wherever they like, as Hedin and his successors had done. The desolation of the place makes it ideal for such aspects of modern life as rocket launching and nuclear bomb testing. Nevertheless, many sites can be reached without too much trouble, and there is still much to see.

Conclusion
From its birth before Christ, through the heights of the Tang dynasty, until its slow demise six to seven hundred years ago, the Silk Road has had a unique role in foreign trade and political relations, stretching far beyond the bounds of Asia itself. It has left its mark on the development of civilisations on both sides of the continent. However, the route has merely fallen into disuse; its story is far from over. With the latest developments, and the changes in political and economic systems, the edges of the Taklimakan may yet see international trade once again, on a scale considerably greater than that of old, the iron horse replacing the camels and horses of the past. (from: http://www.ess.uci.edu/~oliver/silk.html#2 )


Workout Log
AM - 4k/ 33mins/ tasik SA

2 comments:

haza said...

I just stole your makcik blogger. Thanks! have a nice day.

Justiffa said...

Haza - anak Kak Teh of Choc-a-Blog yg buat tp dia mmg bagi pd sesape yg nak :) *high 5* long live makcik bloggers hehehe!!

n u have a terrific day too k :)