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By Robert Byron

This shuttle ebook was once written in 1933-4 while the writer travelled to Persia and Afghanistan. it's a checklist of his trips, packed with remark of individuals and areas, and humorous discussion. the writer, Robert Byron drowned in 1941 while his send to West Africa used to be torpedoed. In his brief existence he travelled so far as China and Tibet. In 1932, attracted through the photograph of a Seljuk tomb-tower at the Turkoman steppe, he set out on a quest for the origins of Islamic structure via Persia and Afghanistan. This publication is the outcome, a list of his trips. during this new version Byron's pictures, which were passed over from all variations because 1950, are restored.

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Additional resources for The Road to Oxiana (Picador Travel Classics)

Sample text

In mass, the ill-fired bricks are a beautiful colour, whitish buff against a sky which is blue again, now that we are out of Baghdad. The base has lately been repaired; probably for the first time since it was built. The museum here is guarded, not so that the treasures of Ur may be safe, but lest visitors should defile the brass of the show-cases by leaning on them. Since none of the exhibits is bigger than a thimble, it was thus impossible to see the treasures of Ur. On the wall outside, King Feisal has erected a memorial tablet to Gertrude Bell.

19 THE ROAD TO OXIANA Set in this radiant environment, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre appears the meanest of churches. Its darkness seems darker than it is, its architecture worse, its cult more degraded. The visitor is in conflict with himself. To pretend to detachment is supercilious; to pretend to reverence, hypocritical. The choice lies ~etween them. Yet for me that choice has been averted. I met a friend in the doorway, and it was he who showed me how to cope with the Holy Places. My friend was a black-robed monk, wearing short beard, long hair, and a tall cylindrical hat.

You mu~t come and see me. There's not much room, is there? Let's go out. Now I'll show you the other places. This red stone is where they washed the body. Four of the lamps are Greek, the others Catholic and Armenian. Calvary's upstairs. Ask your friend to come up. This is the Greek part, that the Catholic. But these are Catholics at the Greek altar, because Calvary was there. Look at the inscription over the cross. It's in real diamonds and was given by the Tsar. And look at this image. Catholics come and give these things to her.

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