Samarkanda Beige, Red
Most of Eastern Turkestan, known today as Sinkiang, is made up of a huge and arid desert table. In centuries gone by, this used to be an enforced leg of the Silk Road, that ideal passage, interrupted by many different routes, along which exotic goods from China, would pass to the West. First and foremost, there was silk, followed by spices, perfumes, valuable wood and handicrafts. Long camel trains would unwind through the sands, travelling from oasis to oasis. These were situated on the banks of the large snow-fed rivers which flowed until disappearing in the desert sands. Around these oases, a cosmopor itan culture settled in, which depending on the fate of the oasis, either flourished or was tormented by the country's historical strife. This culture was strongly influenced by the Far-East, and enriched by the constant exchanges it had with the West. Despite being closed in by a high and continuous mountain range, Sinkiang was never isolated: merchandise and contacts between people and populations would flow through the arduous mountain passes linking Turkestan, India and China. These contacts stood the test of time, despite the terror travellers had for the perennial ice, the freeze of the mountain passes and the total desolation of the desert.