The Silk Road: Series 1
Discover the mythical network of trade routes that for centuries linked the Far East to the West with Alfred de Montesquiou.
Part 1: Italy Venice
The architecture and the mosaics of St Marks Basilica reveal the links that connect this city with the distant lands of Asia; the textile maker Alberto Bevilacqua recounts the history of the silk trade.
Part 2: Turkey Bosphorus
Ottoman architectural wonders and the traditional local variant of wrestling, in which men are doused in olive oil before bouts.
Part 3: Turkey Anatolia the Caravans of Asia Minor
The caravanserai at Aksaray is a perfect example of architecture of the Seljuq dynasty, the first empire in the region starting in the 10th century.
Part 4: Iran Tabriz Capital of Merchants
Tabriz is the center of the ancient Armenian community in Iran.
Part 5: Iran Assassins Emperors and Magi
2,000 meters above sea level, Alfred visits the ruins of Hassan-i Sabb?hs fortress, founder of a movement known as “Hashshashins” – drug smokers and killers who gave us the modern word “assassin”.
Part 6: Iran Kashan the Zoroastrian Fire Temple of Yazd
In the oasis of Kashan, in central Iran, Alfred marvels at the famous pleasure gardens of Fin that cemented the Persians renown.
Part 7: Uzbekistan Bukhara
Alfred arrives in Uzbekistan, at the heart of the ancient Silk Road. He discovers Bukhara the beautiful, dream city for numerous travelers. Home town of Avicenna, Bukhara remains the dreamland of many wayfarers through the ages. Our guide meets some of its artists and craftsmen.
Part 8: Uzbekistan Samarkand
Some used to say Samarkand – in central Uzbekistan – was at the center of the world. Alfred follows the ancient Royal Road to the city – associated with the great Turco-Mongol warrior Timur, who was also famed for his refinement and elegance.
Part 9: Uzbekistan Tachkent
Alfred is awestruck by the modernity of life in Tashkent, the capital of present-day Uzbekistan and a major central Asian city. There is an incredible mix of ethnic groups in this part of the world.
Part 10: Kyrgystan
Osh is the first place Alfred visits in Kyrgyzstan. He saunters down the aisles of its bazaar, but soon realizes that the real Kyrgyzstan is to be found on the endless steppes and vast mountains, where you lose all notions of boundaries.
Part 11: China Kashgar
Alfred’s point of entry to China is Kashgar, in the Xinjiang region – the biggest in the country. It is home to the Uyghurs, an ethnic minority descended from Turkic peoples.
Part 12: China Gobi
A Uyghur family invites our guide into their home. He learns about their way of life and growing techniques. Gaochang used to be an important waypoint through the Silk Road and a famous gathering place for scholars.
Part 13: China Dunhuang
Crossing the Taklamakan desert is a demanding step. And only once the Silk Road caravans made it could they say they truly arrived in China. The Bactrian camel has become emblematic of the region: without it, trade could not have developed along the Silk Road.
Part 14: China Lanzhou
Our guide travels to Liqian, at the narrowest point of the Hexi Corridor. Legend has it that this is where the descendants of Crassus’ lost legions ended up.
Part 15: China Xian
Alfred arrives in Xian – in the province of Shaanxi. The Silk Road caravans used to end their long journey in this millenary city.