Along the Silk Road in Central Asia (eg Samarkand and Bukhara) and the struggle between empires.

Phil Cooper

Phil Cooper HistoricTravelTalks
East Midlands
Notice Period:
Regular (more than one month's notice)
U3A, Rotary, Probus, Schools
Expensed: Expenses
24th March 2018
Central Asia | Silk Road | Tamerlane | Mongols

In some ways this is a travel talk but there are historical aspects of great interest. It has been subjected to continual changes in rulers, which had enormous consequences for the whole area. The photo is the ark (citadel) in Bukhara. I travelled from Ashgabat in Turkmenistan to Tashkent in Uzbekistan. Turkmenistan is an oil rich country, but there is one fascinating place Kunya Urgench, which was a hub of trading around 1,000 AD, which is a Unesco heritage site. Like many places in the area it was conquered by the Genghis Khan and then again by Tamerlane, suffering extensive destruction, although some structures remain. From there I travelled to Khiva and Bukhara, where the Greet Game was played out. This was the political and diplomatic conflict between Russia and Britain, which was concerned at the progress towards India. Bukhara was the holiest city on the area. It was also where the British intelligence agents Stoddart and Connolly met their fate at the hands of Emir Nasrullah The sights at Samarkand are impressive and it was the capital of the empire of Tamerlane, who ruled over a region which today includes 22 countries. The Gūr-e- Amīr where he is buried is spectacular, as is the Bibi-Khanym Mosque,, one of the largest in Asia and dedicated to his wife. I finished my trip in Tashkent, which like Ashgabat was an important part go the Russian Central Asian empire.

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About Phil Cooper

I have accumulated what I feel are good photographs to illustrate my talks which relate to my travel experience. These are to places, often with a historical background and often not readily visited. These include Syria and Jordan, the Silk Road in Central Asia and Western China,, India, Cuba and Peru.

“Great presentation – I spoke to people tonight they were the cleanest photos seen at a Travel Club Presentation. Very good 9 out of 10. It must have been good, hardly anyone dropped off to sleep!” (Taradale Travel Club New Zealand).

My blog site is (Copy and paste)

The last trip I undertook was to Northern India and the wildlife reserves in Assam, such as Kaziranga, where there is a large variety of wildlife, including the vulnerable One Horned Rhino. This is the basis of a talk which was well received at Havelock North Rotary Club, Hawkes Bay New Zealand in February 2018.

I look back at my trip in the Middle East - from Cairo to Istanbul and reflect on what I saw then and what I see currently in places like Aleppo. However the highlight for me was the crusader fortress of Krak des Chevaliers, which is shown on the photo I have included. This was described by TE Lawrence as "perhaps the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world". Indeed he associated with many places along this journey.

I research the topics thoroughly and I provide a narrative and background to illustrated talks. I operate on a voluntary basis and am prepared to travel within reasonable distances from my home in North Nottinghamshire.

 Along the Silk Road in Central Asia Talk Feedback

This part of Central Asia included in particular Kunya Urgench, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. The buildings are simply stunning and the area is historically very interesting. It is the arena where the Great Game was played out, the political and diplomatic confrontation between Britain and Russia in the 19th century, which was described by one of the audience as fascinating.

"Very interesting talk. I could hear every word. I knew nothing about this area and learnt a lot. Pleased I came!!"

"A very interesting and thought provoking talk."

"Managed to tie in a wide land and historical areas in a concise and interesting way. Gave a wider understanding of the history of these areas which I had not come across before. Would have liked photos of the surrounding countryside."

Some felt there was perhaps a lot of information to handle, but the word interesting cropped up many times.

I am a former graduate Biology teacher and also coached cricket for 24 seasons. mainly in New Zealand,Scotland and Amsterdam. as a professional.

I currently spend the early part of the year in New Zealand (mainly January and February) and I have delivered several talks, often in New Zealand, which of course I also have an extensive knowledge of having visited the country 14 times. This would be another option, but i suspect many have already visited this wonderful country.

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