Buried Beneath the Sands

by Nathan Hamm on 4/19/2004 · 1 comment

Uzbekistan could have a truly amazing tourism industry if it made it simple to get to places like Kampyr-Tepe.

Kampyr-Tepe, in southern Uzbekistan, was built at the time of Alexander the Great’s empire and occupied for about 500 years until it fell into decline.

Since it was discovered, a generation ago, it has been closed to the public because it stands in a sensitive and tightly guarded military zone, right on the Afghan border.

The city perched on a high shelf of land – cut into clay walls that dropped sheer into the plains below.

Caught in the light of a winter afternoon, an entire city spread as far as we could see, the dun-coloured dust touched with gold.

It was here that Alexander raised his capital more than 2,000 years ago. This was the furthest conquest, then, of the Greeks in Asia.

Southern Uzbekistan is crawling with Buddhist artifacts, and for those interested, there’s a photo of an enormous sleeping Buddha in the story. For me, it was frustrating to know that Ancient Greek, Sogdian, Bactrian, and others had left behind ruins and artifacts that were essentially inaccessible. I did get to see the remains of one Greek outpost, but that’s it. These places are marked on maps, but you can’t get to them.


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 1 comment }

Markk April 19, 2004 at 5:49 pm

There are also some great dinosaur footprints just across the southern Uzbekistan border in Turkmenistan. Per Lonely Planet.

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