Arts Photographs by Maurice Arts

Turkestan Photography
For day and night comfort, anywhere between Anatolia and Turpan In the Taklamakan Desert, Xinjiang Uyghur Auton. Region China
Turkestan Photography
For day and night comfort, anywhere between Anatolia and Turpan In Harran, Turkey.
Turkestan Photography
Mardin, southern Turkey Assyro-Babylonian, Syriac Orthodox, Christian and Muslim centre which all left their architectural gems.
Turkestan Photography
Tiles of the Masjed-é Jāme (Cuma Cami), Yazd, Iran With its soaring minarets and fine mosaics, this mosque towers over the old city – a warren of sunbaked adobe buildings.
Turkestan Photography
Turkic The term ‘Turkic’ represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people including existing societies such as the Azerbaijani, Kazakhs, Tatar, Kyrgyz, Turks, Turkmen, Uyhgur, Uzbeks as well as past civilizations such as the Huns, Bulgars, Seljuks, Khazars, Ottomans, Mamluks, and Timurids. Many of the Turkic peoples have their homelands in Central Asia, where the Turkic peoples originated from, but since then Turkic languages have spread, through migrations and conquests, to other locations including present-day Turkey. Turkmen, the state language of Turkmenistan since 1990, has been described as ‘800-year old Turkish’.
Turkestan Photography
Labi-Hauz, Bukhara, Uzbekistan Labi-Hauz is a plaza built around a pool in 1620. The plaza is shaded by mulberry trees as old as the pool and peopled with street-sellers, old men gossiping over tea and anyone else with nowhere to go. The building in the back is the Nadir Divanbegi Medressa. Built as a caravanserai, but the khan though it was a medressa and it became one in 1630.
Turkestan Photography
Yurts in the Uyghur valleys At the far other end of Turkestan, a typical dish has certainly important similarities with the eateries in İstanbul. Uyghur cuisine includes all the trusty stand-bys such as kebabs, pulau (plov-rice with meat and vegetables), manta and endless varieties of laghman, though the usual topping is some combination of mutton, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, green beans and garlic. Breads are everywhere, mostly sprinkled with poppy seeds, sesame seeds or fennel. Samsas (samosas) are easily available as well. At the end, I never tried opke, a nauseating broth of bobbling goat’s head and coiled, stuffed intestines.
Turkestan Photography
Yurta / Yurt / Kibitka / Ger – the nomad heritage A circular tent built from a wooden framework covered with felt made from sheep’s wool. Its circular shape is particularly well-adapted to the climatic conditions of Turkestan, offering resistance to the high winds which regularly sweep the steppes and deserts. The centre of the yurt is the most sacred sport and this is where the food table is installed or where the aksakal sits. At the back is the altar with on each side cases, including a box with snuff.
Turkestan Photography
Soğmatar near Harran, Turkey Soğmatar was a centre for the cult worship of Sin, the moon god, from about AD 150 to 200. It is an atmospheric, eerie place, surrounded by a barren landscape with bare rocks and ledges. On one of the ledges there was once an open-air temple where sacrifices were made to the sun and moon gods. Harran itself is one of the oldest continuously inhabited spots on Earth. The Book of Genesis mentions Harran and its most famous resident, Abraham, who stayed here for a few yeas back in 1900 BC.
Turkestan Photography
Shahr-i-Zindah, Samarkand, Uzbekistan It may feature Turkestan’s most stunning and varied tile work. The name Shahr-i-Zindah means ‘Tomb of the Living King’ and comprises a complex of rooms around a shrine what is probably the grave of Qusam ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Mohammed. Western Turks, Arabs, Persian Samanids, Karakhan and Seljuq Turks, Khorezmshah, Genghiz Khan have all ruled here. But it was Timur who made it in 1370 his capital. Samarkand became Turkestan’s economic and cultural epicentre. Most of Samarkand’s historical buildings are the work of Timur and his grandson Ulughbek.
Turkestan Photography
Iran Zanjan
Turkestan Photography
The Silk Road. Central Asia is strongly connected to the once famous Silk Road. It was said to take 200 days to traverse the route, though geographically the Silk Road was a complex and shifting proposition. It was no single road, but rather a fragile network of intercontinental caravan tracks that threaded through some of the highest mountains and bleakest deserts on earth. In fact there was no ‘through traffic’; caravanners were mostly short and medium-distance haulers who marketed and took on freight along a given beat according to their needs. The earliest exchanges were based on mercantile interactions between the steppe nomads and settled towns, when barter was the only form of exchange. Silk on the Silk Road No-one knows for sure when the fine, light, soft, strong, shimmering, sensuous fabric spun from the cocoon of the Bombyx caterpillar first reached the west from China. In the 4th century BC, Aristotle described a fibre that may have been Chinese silk. Others give the credit to Nestorian monks who allegedly hid silkworm eggs in their walking sticks as they travelled from Central Asia to Byzantium.
Turkestan Photography
The Silk Road gave rise to the clusters of military states of nomadic origins in north China, invited the amongst others Buddhists and later Islamic religions into Central Asia and China, created the largest continental empire ever: the Mongol Empire, with its political centers strung along the Silk Road (such as Beijing in China, Karakorum in Mongolia, Samarkand in Transoxiana (Uzbekistan), Tabriz in Iran, Solkhat in Crimea, and Erzurum in Anatolia), realizing the political unification of zones previously loosely and intermittently connected by material and cultural goods. The Mongol expansion throughout the Asian continent from around 1215 to 1360 helped bring political stability and re-establish the Silk Road. Eventually the Mongols converted to Islam, and signed the 1323 Treaty of Aleppo with the surviving Muslim power, the Egyptian Mamluks. The Silk Road was important for cultural, commercial and technological exchange between traders, merchants, pilgrims, missionaries, soldiers, nomads and urban dwellers from China, India, Persia and Mediterranean countries for almost 3,000 years.
It enabled people to transport goods, especially luxuries such as slaves, silk, satins and other fine fabrics, musk, other perfumes, spices and medicines, jewels, glassware and even rhubarb, as well as serving as a conduit for the spread of knowledge, ideas, cultures, and diseases between different parts of the world. Trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the great civilizations
The Silk Road stopped serving as a shipping route around 1400.
Turkestan Photography
Masjed-é Emām, Esfahān, Iran This magnificent mosque is one of the most stunning ones in Iran. It is completely covered, inside and out, with the pale blue patterned tiles that are an Esfahānī trademark. The mosque was built over a period of 26 years by an increasingly impatient Shāh Abbās I, and eventually completed in 1638. During the Seljuk Turks period (1051-1220) the city was briefly a capital. However, later on Timur massacred 70,000 citizens and made minarets of their skulls. Shāh Abbās had more humane plans or the city. Under his rule, Esfahān flourished to become a wonder of the renaissance world. The half-rhyme Esfahān nesf-é jahān (‘Esfahān is half the world’) was coined at this time to express its grandeur.
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Main dome of the Bibi-Khanum Mosque, Samarkand, Uzbekistan Timur. The fracturing of the Mongol empire led to resurgence of the Turkic peoples. From one minor clan arose a tyrant’s tyrant, Timur (‘the Lame’, or Tamerlane). After wresting Transoxiana, Timur went on a spectacular 9-year rampage which ended in 1395 with modern-day Iran, Iraq, Syria, eastern Turkey and the Caucasus. As his capital, Samarkand grew as a showcase of treasure. Timur claimed indirect kinship with Genghiz Khan. But it seems he had not his forerunner’s good sense and gift for statecraft. History can be strange: both slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people, yet one is remembered as a great ruler and the other not. The argument goes that Timur’s bloodbaths were insufficiently linked to political or military aims.
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Mir-i-Arab Medressa, Bukhara, Uzbekistan A working seminary from the 16th century until 1920, but reopened by Stalin in 1944 in an effort to curry Muslim support for the war effort. It was Central Asia’s only functioning medressa in Soviet times.
Turkestan Photography
Masjed-é Sheikh Lotfollāh, Esfahān, Iran This small mosque is known as the jewel in the ring (that being one of the largest and most attractive squares in the world) of Esfahān. Built by Shāh Abbās for the exclusive use of his entourage. Beautifully proportioned and decorated, the mosque boasts some of the best mosaics from the era. As one enters the main prayer room a shaft of light creates the tail of a peacock from the middle of the dome.
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Ceiling of Ulugh Bek Medressa, Registan Square, Samarkand, Uzbekistan Architectural splendour at the majestic Registan Square. Finished in 1420 and named after Timur’s grandson Ulugh Bek. Samarkand was already a cosmopolitan city in the times of Alexander the Great when it was the capital of the Sogdian Empire. He mentioned ‘everything I have heard about Marakanda (Samarkand) is true, except that it’s more beautiful than I ever imagined’.
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Emin Minaret, Turpan, Xinjiang Uyghur Auton. Region China It is designed in a simple Afghani style and was built in 1777 in memory of the local ruler, Emin Hoja. From the top of the minaret one can overlook the local paradise; vineyards. The winery is of surprisingly good quality and there are lots of well-ventilated brick buildings for drying grapes. The yearly festival features raisin dancing, singing, wine-tasting and a lot of grape eating.
Turkestan Photography
Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Bukhara, Uzbekistan On of Turkestan’s most elegant structures, dedicated to the Smanid dynasty’s founder. Completed in about 905, it survived without restoration. Genghiz Khan overlooked the building as it was partly buried in the dust of ages. The area of Bukhara was in Turkic hands as of the 6th century by the so called Kök (Blue) Turks. Later the Arab and the Persians took over with the Samanid dynasty. Bukhara was their capital and centre of intellectual, religious and commercial renaissance. Then, the Turkic Khorezmshahs dominated again up to the time Genghiz Khan ravaged the area.
Turkestan Photography
Maghoki-Attar (‘Pit of the Herbalists’), Bukhara, Uzbekistan In an area that used to by the spice bazaar, is Turkestan’s oldest surviving mosque, the Maghoki-Attar. On the picture is the 12th century façade and a 20th century lady. Under it, archaeologists found a 5th century Zoroastrian temple wrecked by the Arabs, and an even earlier Buddhist temple. Until the 16th century Bukhara’s Jews are said to have used the mosque in the evenings as a synagogue.
Turkestan Photography
Seljuk tomb, Ahlat, Van Gölü, Turkey The Usta Şağirt Kümbeti is from the 13th century. The first real Turkish state in Anatolia was the Great Seljuk Empire (1037-1109), based in Persia. Coming from Central Asia, the Seljuk Turks captured Baghdad and under sultan Alp Arslan it defeated the Byzantines near Ahlat. In the 13th century a remnant of the Seljuk Empire lived on around Iconium (Konya). Called the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum (‘Rome’, meaning Roman Asia), it continued to flourish, producing great art and great thinkers, until it was overrun by the Mongol hordes in 1243. Celaleddin Rumi (or Mevlăna), founder of the whirling dervish order, was perhaps the most outstanding thinker of the Sultanate.
Turkestan Photography
Naryn, Kyrgyzstan Central Asia was subjugated over the 18th and 19th centuries: it furnished tsarist Lebensraum, cotton and a buffer against the British. After the Bolshevik revolution, Lenin upgraded the urged the “Muslim toilers” of the east to “organise your national life freely and without hindrance”. But things turned out differently. By the time the Soviet Union collapsed, and the five republics achieved independence, they had been shaped by the Communist planning and Russian assaults on their local cultures (mostly a hybrid of Islam and steppe shamanism). When former Communists took control of the newly independent republics, they found themselves grappling with existential crises. Many people were grown up with citing Lenin every five minutes. Now they have lost the very centre of their thinking. Most are desperately poor, and many are unemployed.
Turkestan Photography
Aksakals walking near the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Turkestan has preserved an astonishing socio-cultural system devolving from the ancient patriarchial custom of listening to the advice of the highly-respected council on ‘white beards’.

The ‘white beards’ were originally counselors for the camp chieftain. When the feudal system disappeared, they became the ‘moral voices’ which each village came to consult regularly. When it comes to distributing aid they have their say in the apportionment of supplies to the families they represent. In disputes between neighbours, the aksakal acts as mediator. They are also the bastions of tradition as they store and transmit the collective memory of the community.

Turkestan Photography
Bibi-Khanum Mosque, Samarkand, Uzbekistan Finished shortly before Timur’s (Tamerlane) death in 1405, the Bibi-Khanum mosque was finished. It must have been the jewel of his empire. It’s a victim of its own grandeur, once one of the Islamic world’s biggest mosques it pushed construction techniques to the limit and slowly crumbled over the years. Legend says that Bibi-Khanum, Timur’s Chinese wife, ordered the mosque built as a surprise while he was away. The architect fell madly in love with her and refused to finish the job unless he could give her a kiss. The smooch left a mark and Timur, on seeing it, executed the architect and decreed that women should henceforth wear veils so as not the tempt other men.
Turkestan Photography
From Altay to İstanbul; Sogdians and Göktürks The Sogdians dominated the East-West trade between the 4th and 8th century. They were the main caravan merchants of Central Asia. Their commercial interests were protected by the military power of the Göktürks, whose empire has been described as ‘the joint enterprise of the Ashina clan and the Sogdians’. Their trades continued in the 9th century in the Uyghur Empire, which obtained from China enormous deliveries of silk in exchange for horses. They played an equally important religious and cultural role.
Turkestan Photography
Central Turkestan The region became part of the Russian Empire in the 1860s. After the Russian Revolution, a Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union was created, which was eventually split into the Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan by Stalin in 1924. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these republics gained their independence.
Turkestan Photography
From Altay to İstanbul; The Seljuk Turks During the centuries of Byzantine waxing and waning, the nomadic Turks had been moving ever westward. En route the Turks encountered the Arabs and converted to Islam. The Turks assumed control of parts of the Abbasid Empire and built an empire of their own centered on Persia. Tuğrul, of the Turkic Seljuk clan, took the title of sultan in Baghdad, and from there the Seljuks began raiding Byzantine territory. In 1071, Tuğrul’s son Alp Arslan won a battle at Manzikert (near Ahlat, Van) and began the demise of the Byzantine Empire. In the 13th century they lived the Sultanate of Rum, centred on the capital at Konya. They became influenced by the Persian culture, art and literature. Meanwhile, Ghenghiz Khan rumbled through Anatolia and defeated a Seljuk army. Anatolia fractured into a mosaic of Turkish beyliks (principalities) and Mongol fiefdom. By 1300 a single Turkish bey, Osman, established the Ottoman dynasty.
Turkestan Photography
From Altay to İstanbul; The Ottoman state The Ottomans embraced all the cultures of Anatolia and their culture became an amalgam of Greek and Turkish, Muslim and Christian elements. Ambitious they forged westward, establishing a first capital at Bursa and crossed into Europe. However, in 1402, Timur (Tamerlane) captured Sultan Beyazit and the Ottoman Empire halted. After Timur’s departure, one of Beyazit’s descendants, Mehmet I took up the expansion drift. Mehmet II continued the momentum and Constantinople finally fell in 1453.
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Local beauty in Margilan, Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan 2,200 years ago the Chinese searched the Fergana Valley for ‘dragon horses’, celebrated in legends across Asia and India for their size, speed, and endurance. And already for some 2,000 years, the valley has been the heart of numerous ethnical and religious conflicts. Mostly since this valley is by far the most fertile corner of Turkestan. The valley produced a quarter of the USSR’s raw cotton. During the last 100 years the Bolsheviks slaughtered thousands of civilians, the basmachi (Muslim guerilla fighters) have been active over and over.
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Yeni Cami, İstanbul Only in İstanbul would a 400-year old mosque be called ‘new’. The Yeni Cami begun in 1597, commissioned by Valide Sultan Safiye. The mosque was only completed six sultans later in 1663.
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At Song-Köl (Song Gölü), Kyrgyzstan This lake, at 3,530m, is a wonderful spot. All around it are lush pastures favoured by herders who spend summer here with their animals. As a visitor you are invited to spend the night and trade tea, salt, sugar, cigarettes or vodka for fish, milk, kurut (very hard cheese) of full-bodied kumys. Kumys (light alcoholic mare’s milk) is the national drink.
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Bread Mostly called ‘nan’, the wide array of breads is usually baked in tandoor ovens. Some varieties are prepared with onions, meat or sheep’s-tail fat in the dough. Others are topped with anise, poppy or sesame seeds. Flat-bread also serves as an impromptu plate for shashlyk kebabs.
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Xinjiang
Turkestan Photography
Emirgan Park, İstanbul Emirgan Park was party ground of Ahmet III (1673-1736). Every spring he held his tulip parties. He was obsessed by the beauty of this flower which used to grow on the steppes of Central Turkestan.
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan, literally meaning `Land of the Turks`, is a region in Central Asia, which today is largely inhabited by Turkic peoples. Turkmens, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Khazars, Kyrgyz and Uyghurs are some of the Turkic inhabitants of the region who, as history progressed, have spread further into Eurasia forming such Turkic nations as Turkey and Azerbaijan. Altogether Turkestan is an area where some 200 million Turkic people live. Turkestan acquired its `Turkic` character from the 4th to 6th centuries AD with the beginning Turkic expansion. This makes it a historic region and numerous similarities are still prominent in this region. One of the similarities is the language, which can be indicated by the Wikipedia description of Turpan: “Turpan (Uyghur: تۇرپان‎, Turpan; Turkish: Turfan; Modern Chinese: Tǔlǔfān)”. Other examples of similarity are religion, architecture, food, customs as well as outer looks of its inhabitants.
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Eastern Turkestan Eastern Turkestan experienced Chinese influence long before Russian influence. The first Chinese military campaigns in Turkestan dates to the 2nd century BC. From then on, Turkestan was controlled by the Chinese now and then during Han and Tang dynasties. Uyghur tribes started to settle in the most east of Turkestan from the 8th century. It was conquered by the Qing Dynasty in the mid-18th century and was named Xinjiang, meaning “new frontier”. It was taken over by China by which it is now administered as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Turkestan Photography
Rags and cradles, Merv, Turkmenistan Near the mausoleum of Mohammed Ibn Zeid and its caretaker are many spindly trees. The colourful rags and tiny cradles attached to the trees near the shrine are offering. If a woman conceives in the months following a visit here, to ensure the child’s health she must return on the anniversary of the visit and sacrifice a sheep in thanks.
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Dried peppers on a market in Hotan, Xinjiang Uyghur Auton. Region China.
Turkestan Photography
Food lovers paradise Gaziantep, Turkey Not only does Gaziantep produce the best şam fıstığı (pistachio) in the northern hemisphere, it’s also said to be the baklava capital of the world. Maybe its mixed history made its cuisine of renowned quality and diversity. Hittites, Assyrians, Persians, Alexander the Great, Romans, Byzantines and Arabs changed ownership until the Seljuk Turks took over in 1070. Afterwards, the Crusaders came in but didn’t stay long before the Seljuks took over again. Ottoman Selim the Grim came in 1516. A sizeable Christian community lived in Antep for several centuries. Some more practical information: How to judge whether baklava is fresh? It’s simple, when it is in your mouth, it should make like a kshhhhh sound.
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Sunday market at the İstanbul city walls Hardly to find a sharper contract on this planet between the spoiled boys and girls of Cafe Lucca in Bebek and the lingering poverty along the İstanbul city walls. As in Kashgar, it is not always easy to distinguish market ware from thrown away rubbish.
Turkestan Photography
2nd or 3rd hand shoe market in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Auton. Region China In Kashgar it is rare to see Uyghurs and Han Chinese talking with each other. Relations between Uyghurs and Han Chinese have never been good but ties have become increasingly strained since the 1950s, when China began its policy of bolstering Xinjiang’s population with Han settlers. To ward off these tensions China has invested money in developing Xinjiang’s economy and infrastructure. Though Uyghurs argue that all the good jobs are dominated by the Han Chinese. Han migration, birth control, nuclear testing in the province and the exploitation of oil reserves from outside the province remain the concern of the Uyghur. Moreover, the two cultures are split by deep religious, linguistic, cultural and even culinary differences.
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Fierce competition in Aksu, Xinjiang Uyghur Auton. Region China.
Turkestan Photography
A Turkish lady in Kashgar?
Turkestan Photography
An Uyghur lady in İstanbul?
Turkestan Photography

Today's menu: kebab. Picture taken in Kashgar, Xinjiang China. Kashgar was a major hub of the Silk Road and has bristled with activity for over 2000 years. Even now, the name Kasgar still sparks images of a remote desert oasis, the sole outpost of civilization separating the vast deserst of Xinjiang from the icy peaks of the Karakoram. Desert brigands, exotic bazaars and colourful siks spring to mind at the mention of China's westernmost city. By train to Xinjiang's capital Urumqi is a 31 hours ride.

Turkestan Photography
Big-bottomed sheep Mutton is the ever-present and preferred meat. The big-bottomed sheep are prized for their meat, fat and wool. The meat-to-fat ratio is generally stacked heavily in favour (and flavour) of the fat. By eating the mutton, one begins to feel the insides getting plugged up with it. So do the locals, who keep themselves unplugged with lots of tea.
Turkestan Photography Turkestan Photography

Turkey = Kebab + textile

Turkestan Photography
Central Asia = Shashlyk + silk
Turkestan Photography
Grassland stretching from Bolu to Ulaan Baator; the Turkestan grazing ground of nomadic horseback peoples for millennia The great corridor of the steppes, flanked by towering mountain ranges, was the only communication link between the Levant and the mysterious Orient. Memories of the Silk Road still line the many trails the caravans followed. The Göktürks, Ghenghiz Khan and Timur the Great swept triumphantly across these steppes and leaving some of the most sumptuous monuments known to humanity. It was not until the 19th century that the area was seen as one great human and geographical entity with its own rich tapestry of history and its mosaic of Turkic-speaking peoples.
Turkestan Photography
Eastern Turkestan Eastern Turkestan experienced Chinese influence long before Russian influence. The first Chinese military campaigns in Turkestan dates to the 2nd century BC. From then on, Turkestan was controlled by the Chinese now and then during Han and Tang dynasties. Uyghur tribes started to settle in the most east of Turkestan from the 8th century. It was conquered by the Qing Dynasty in the mid-18th century and was named Xinjiang, meaning “new frontier”. It was taken over by China by which it is now administered as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Turkestan Photography
Turkestan Photography
Graves near Merv, Turkmenistan Ladders in order to bring the ones who passed away more easily to heaven. Merv was an important staging post along the Silk Road. As a centre of power, culture and civilization, Merv reached its greates heights in the 11th and 12th centuries when Seljuk Turks made it their capital and about the greatest city in the Islamic world. Marv-i-shah-jahan, or ‘Merv, Queen of the World’ as it was then known, may even have been the inspiration for the tales of Scheherazade’s Thousand and One Nights.
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Graveyard in Zeyrek, Fatih district, İstanbul At the southern shore of the Golden Horn.
Turkestan Photography
Graves and tombs in Yarkand, Xinjiang Uyghur Auton. Region China Nested in between the Taklamakan Desert and the Pamir mountains near Pakistan and India, Yarkand was a famous post at the Sik Road. The tombs are of Aman Isa Khan, who lived in the 16th century.
Turkestan Photography
Graves near Ahlat, Van Gölü, Turkey The Seljuk cemetery is vast, with stele-like headstones of lichen-covered grey or red volcanic tuff. It has intricate web patterns and bands of Kufic lettering.
Turkestan Photography
From silk worm to silk veil The Uzbekistan government distributes some 20 grams of young silkworm grubs to any famer willing to raise them in late April. The farmers prepare special rooms with large bedding boxes. The worms’ diet consists of chopped up mulberry leaves. The 20 grams consume about 3 kg of leaves a day. At the end of one month, the microscopic creatures have grown to the size of a little finger and eat some 300 kg of leaves a day. They stop eating and spend a week rolling themselves up into a cocoon of silk fibres. The worms are killed inside their cocoons by steaming and each cocoon is boiled and unwound. One cocoon yields about 1 km of filament. Several filaments are twisted together to make thread, which is used to make clothing.
Turkestan Photography
Kyrgyz family in Osh Many Kyrgyz derive their name from kyrk kyz, which means ’40 girls’ and goes along with legends of 40 original clan mothers. Kazakhs and Kyrgyz share many customs and have similar languages, and in a sense they are simply the steppe (Kazakh) and mountain (Kyrgyz) variants of the same people.
Turkestan Photography
Uyghur girls near Karakul, Xinjiang Uyghur Auton. Region China The lake Karakul is at 3,800 metres and is nested between the Pamir mountains. In summer, the area is dotted with yurts.
Turkestan Photography
Flowers – Labi Hauz, Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Tilework is the most dramatic form of decoration in Turkestan. It gives buildings a lighter feel. Colours were made especially bright to stand out in the bright sunlight. The deep cobalt and turquoise (‘colour of the Turks’) have moved travelers for centuries. Decoration almost always takes the shape of abstract geometric, floral, or calligraphic designs, in keeping with the Islamic taboo on the representation of living creatures.
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Geometric blue tiles – Tash-Khovli Palace Khiva, Uzbekistan
Turkestan Photography
Green, blue and yellow Iznik tiles - Mukaddes Emanetler Dairesi, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul