Posted by Patrick Weiler on May 07, 1999 at 08:46:55:
In Reply to: Re: It's the Train! posted by Steve Price on May 06, 1999 at 13:20:34:
: Dear Patrick,
: An interesting thought, although the silk road was a major trade route there for centuries. Do you have information about when railroads first went through Turkmen territory?
: Steve Price
The Transcaspian railroad was begun in 1880, reached Merv by 1885 and Samarkand in 1888. The Orenburg-Tashkent railroad, linking Turkestan with European Russia was finished in 1906.
Granted, Bokhara and Mashad were trading centers for Central Asian weavings for centuries, and also there were contacts by the wealthier Turkmen with these financial centers along with the concomitant interchange of cultural influences, however, the massive exodus of these weavings to the West most likely took place after the train made reliable transport available. The Turkmen occupied some of the most desolate territory known, and as part of their "employment career", would prey upon travellers and settled residents for goods and plunder. It was not quite like driving to the mall back then :-)
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