Thursday, 28 April 2016


Well I am off again to Central Asia to continue the Silk Road journey some 5 years after the first trip with the same 3 friends that accompanied me in 2010. This time we are spending more time in Kyrgyzstan and then in Uzbekistan from 4th - 25th May 2016.
I see that the BBC series on the Silk Road commences on Sunday.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Macclesfield and the Modern Silk Road

Since this journey I have been developing links between Macclesfield in the UK and Xi'an in China - developing the concept that each is at the western and eastern end of the modern Silk Road. For readers of this blog I recommend a visit to Macclesfield (1 hour 40 minutes on the train from London and only 30 minutes from Manchester) to see the hidden gem that is the Macclesfield Silk Heritage Museum. Don't miss a tour of the Paradise Mill with its ranks of old jaquard looms and ask if you can see the marvellous silk pattern book collection which is in a climate controlled room, not open to the general public.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Postscript - Plans to return to Tajikistan

I wanted to add that the time we spent in the eastern part of Tajikistan was too short and I am already planning to return to Khorog and the Pamir Highway for a second longer look - possibly in October 2011. I hope I can take the exhilarating flight from Dushanbe to Khorog this time.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The End

Moss Rose, the home of "The Silkmen"

How do I finish this blog about our 6 week journey of a lifetime? Maybe I will try to do the western half of the Silk Road one day, starting in Tashkent and ending in Istanbul or even Rome. Of course those of you have read this blog from the beginning will know that the true end of the present day Silk Road is Macclesfield in England!

So if anyone is inspired by these photos and wants to contact me, my email address is

You can find out more of what I do when I am not travelling by looking at my web site:

How to end? Well how about with what I think was my favourite photograph in Samarkand and the home of "The Silkmen" - Mose Rose, Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK.
Oh and just one last thing. My late Dad, Sydney Barrow, was a professional photographer and these photographs are dedicated to him and the introduction to photography that he gave me as a boy in Gosport, Hampshire. I do not know what he would have made of all this newfangled digital stuff! I haven't really tried to take photographs seriously since my teens so maybe this trip will have triggered something.

Ceramic Tile Design at the Shar-i-Zindah Tombs, Samarkand

One of the must see sights of Samarkand are the Shahr-i-Zindah tombs. They are striking not just because of the architectural assembalge but most of all for the detail and design of their ceramic tiles. Here are some examples.

Women of Samarkand

The women of Uzbekistan wear rather colourful dress and accessories, so here are some images of ladies of various ages and sizes. The young girl with the red dress and hat is wearing the type of dress a new bride will wear for some time after her marriage. The two young ladies with the more western appearance latched on to us to practice their English. Another interesting observation is that at this time of year women have a compulsion to sweep leaves. In the towns or the countryside leaf sweeping is a universally practiced passtime!

Samarkand Registan

The Registan in Samarkand is probably the most important and iconic assemblage of buildings along the Silk Road. The three Islamic madrasses that make up the square were built at different times between the 14th - 16th Centuries and have been heavily restored, including saving leaning minarets from falling, with one being rotated 180 degrees. The buildings are undoubtedly striking and beautiful in both their scale and detail. Most of the spaces are now used for various retail operations aimed at tourists, but some of our party were not offened by this and felt that it gave life to the place.

If you slip some money to the guards they let you go up the steep and narrow steps of one of the minarets to get the view from the top. The following pictures I hope do some justice to the magnificance of this World Heritage site. How it looks is affected greatly by the light at different times of the day. I think we were lucky to be here in fine weather in November as the numbers of visitors was not overwhelming.