Samarkand, Boukhara, Khiva: these mythical Oriental cities capture our imagination, even more so now that our curious eyes are allowed to freely view what was once forbidden land. Centered around these three towns, renowned for their artistic heritage, the photos demonstrate a rich and varied past. The name Samarkand is legendary and the emotive silhouettes of Bukhara and Khiva are straight from the world of A Thousand and One Nights. The text, both accessible and precise, serves to reinstate these realms of Islamic art within the chaos of world history. This insightful historical voyage begins over 2000 years ago when Alexander the Great approached the city walls of Samarkand with his iron phalanx and was stunned by its invincible size and beauty. It recounts how merchants on the Silk Road and warring armies, headed by Gengis Kahn and his likes, continued to cross paths for centuries in this region. Unceasing rivalries spurred these different parties to create ever more spectacular buildings, gardens, and mosques.
The volume pays tribute to a culture that withstood repeated critical episodes - the Russian upsurge, Iranian and Afghan trials of the 19th-century, Queen Victoria's reign - and continued to thrive until soviet power set in. The reader is left to question whether Uzbekistan's new-found independence will witness not only the restoration of precious stones but also the cultureal rebirth of an entire civilization.
Buy Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva book by Pierre Chuvin from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(310mm x 240mm x 23mm)
Publisher: Editions Flammarion
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Author Biography - Pierre Chuvin
Pierre Chuvin spent five years (1993-1998) in Tachkent, Uzbekistan, as the director of the Institut francais d'Etudes sur l'Asie Centrale, and in 1996 founded the French-language magazine Cahiers d'Asie centrale, and has been involved in numerous other publications, including a book on the history of Central Asia from 1747-2001. He is a professor of Greek literature at the University of Paris-X Nanterre. Gerard Degeorge is an architect and civil engineer, a historian of the Arab world and a specialist on Syria who teaches architecture at the Ecole d'Architecture de Paris-la-Seine. His most recent works include The Art of the Islamic Tile (Flammarion, 2002).