The legends enclosed in this album are more than just amusing stories once told by imaginative souls in less imaginative coffee houses of Central Asia to while away the time. True they make for fascinating reading and reveal much about the time of the great Emir Timur and of the Silk Road. But these are tales that have been passed down from generation to generation in Central Asia and indeed have been disseminated across the world by the ancient travellers. Each time the stories have twisted and turned and been changed to suit the local taste and I will leave it to you to find parts of other stories hidden in these legends. I myself have seen stories that remind me of the great Greek myths from the West and the wise tales I have heard from the East. The characters, places and words change but the themes remain constant throughout and reveal to willing readers the magnificence and importance of Central Asia during the days of the Great Silk Road. I encourage you to read these stories with an open mind, lose yourself in the adventure and digest the wonderful individuals you will meet. Then go out and tell the stories to others, add in your own customs, traditions and creativity so that these stories, and their valuable lessons, remain part of our world history.
I will publish a select few of the legends in the coming months on the blog. But you can buy your copy while stocks last here.
This illustrated album contains just a small part of the many legends that have not been published for many decades. Some of them have never been published before. With these legends the authors begin a series of publications about the little-known tales of the Central Asian people, whose lands were once crossed by paths of the Great Silk Road. The publications are for everyone who is interested in the history of Eastern culture.
Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Kunya-Urghench, Shahrisabz, Kokand… These very names conjure up mythical images of the «One thousand and one nights», fantastic sultans, dramatic adventures and charming girls. In reality the history of these ancient cities is all this and much more. When Alexander the Great rode for the first time along the streets of Samarkand, the city had been the capital of Great Sogd for many centuries. It represented the real centre of the Central Asian world as described in Avesta (the sacred book of Zoroastrians) in the IX-VIIIth centuries B.C.
The first caravans of the Great Silk Road passed through this city. They brought strange and invaluable goods, myths and legends from the Pacific Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Eurasian steppes, the mountain settlements of the Pamirs and Hindu Kush. In noisy and scorching city markets the languages of Buddhists, Christians, Moslems and Jews were heard. Everyone wanted to tell his story about the greatest heroes known to the people in that period, or about the wisest prophets who proclaimed universal truths. It seemed as though the world came there to tell the most secret story it had – that of its boundless Soul.
The memory of millennia lies on the gray walls of Samarkand, a truly majestic city at the heart of ancient Sogd (Sogdiana). Fate made the city not only the main crossroads of the Great Silk Road, but also a zenith of Central Asia and the focus of an enormous nomadic world of traders. In its madrasahs, caravanserais and inns, Samarkand collected preachers of all known and unknown religious doctrines from some of the world’s most remarkable countries.