The Silk Road in Tajikistan
For anyone wishing to follow the Silk Road in Tajikistan, the main route would be to start, if possible, at Samarqand in Uzbekistan. This was one of the main cities and mercantile centre of the Sogdians. From there thousands of caravans would have journeyed to Penjikent, and then up the Zarafshan valley to Aini, and across the Shahristan Pass. The route continued to Istaravshan and another important city on the Silk Road, Khujand, and then on to Osh and Kashgar. The heavenly horses would have been driven from here all the way to China.
There are other routes that passed through Tajikistan. A route came from Termez on the Amu Darya to Hissor, which has the best-preserved caravanserai in the country, then on to Dushanbe, and up the Rasht valley, over the Karamyk Pass to Osh in Kyrgyzstan. There were other even more difficult routes through the Pamirs, along the Wakhan corridor and over passes to Tashkurgan. Further reading:
- Silk Road: Monks, Warriors and Merchants on the Silk Road by Luce Boulnois. Odyssey Books & Guides, 2012. The English version of the best selling French classic account of the history of the Silk Road.
- Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World by Mark Norell, Denise Patry Leidy, & Laura Ross (Sterling Signature, 2011); an elegantly, lavishly illustrated history of the legendary Silk Road and the cultural pathway it blazed for the modern world. Takes an epic journey to major stops in China, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iraq, and beyond.
- Silk Road: Xi'an to Kashgar by Judy Bonavia. Odyssey Books & Guides, 2008. An authoritative and beautifully illustrated guide to travel along the Chinese section of the Silk Road, covering the many interweaving routes that began in Xi'an and wound their way towards Central Asia.
- The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia by Frances Wood (University of California Press, 2003); a lucid and entertaining account of all aspects of the Silk Road.
- Legends, Tales and Tables in the Art of Sogdiana by Boris Marshak (Bibliotheca Persica Press, December 2002); a scholarly and detailed account of the Sogdian frescoes.
- Life Along the Silk Road by Susan Whitfield (University of California Press, 2001); brilliantly brings to life how individuals actually lived and travelled on the Silk Road.
- An excellent map is The Ancient Silk Road: An illustrated map featuring the ancient network of routes between China and Europe, published by Odyssey Maps (refer www.odysseypublications.com).