The ancient Uzbekistan city of Samarkand is often referred to as the Crossroads of Cultures. It once dazzled such luminaries as Alexander The Great. Samarkand is set to dazzle again as centre of Xi’s ‘Region of Harmony’ and once again the crossroads of both the ancient and modern Silk Roads.
Pepe Escobar paints a marvellous picture of the history and future, based on the renewed importance of Central Asia to the world (or most of it). It would appear there is no part in that image for the western world – except perhaps for what remains of Europe. The west may simply find themselves as fringe-dwellers or unwanted outcasts, assuming they will exist at all. Escobar, I should point out, doesn’t go into that at all. It is simply my considered viewpoint. Well, with the largest and most populous region on Earth – the Eurasian landmass (plus the joined African continent) once again becoming the centre of the world – and a designated and self-contained ‘region of harmony’ having little or no contact with the extremities, other habitable places will need to find some sort of harmony of their own if they are to remain populated with human cultures. Again that is just a thought image I have rotating in the backwaters of my mind.
But make sure you read Pepe’s fine piece, here…
‘Samarkand at the crossroads: from Timur to the BRI and SCO’ – by Pepe Escobar at The Cradle
Note: I did not know that Alexander spent time in Samarkand, but that may be because it was not so called in those days. A most ancient city long before the Macedonian conquests, it was known in Alexander’s time as Marakanda. It has a most interesting history, which I suppose will become more widely known as it once again becomes the centre of world culture on the new Silk Road.
Read more of that ancient history here: Marakanda and Afrosiab-ghosts of ancient Sogdiana (if that does not immediately translate to english for you, get it translated – it is worth the effort).