Sophie Ibbotson, who sits on the RSAA Council, writes from the RSAA Uzbekistan Tour which visited the country last month.
There is no benefit in my writing to you of the wonders of Khiva, Bukhara or Samarkand. These are well enough known that each of us already has in our own mind a picture of the place, and that picture is more or less true. Instead, I want to transport you south to the border with Afghanistan, and more than a millennium before the first Timurid stones were laid.
A 40-minute rove from the dusty border city of Termez lies Kampir Tepe. Most likely founded in the 3rd century BC, this was a thriving Buddhist city on the banks of the Oxus River (now the Amu Darya). There were stupas, temples and monasteries here, of course, but also heavily fortified walls from where you could look south towards the greener hills of Afghanistan; caravanserais and markets; and city streets and common homes.