The longest road on earth, the fabled Silk Road spanned several thousand miles, connecting East and West and stretching from China and India to Central Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea. For two millennia, exotic goods, artistic styles and cultural traditions traveled in both directions leaving a lasting impact on civilizations across vast expanses. The Silk Road became a symbol of economic and cultural exchanges between East and West.
A land of ancient oases and sun-burnt deserts, Central Asia became the possession of the Russian Empire through conquest in the second half of the 19th century. To conduct a visual survey of these far reaches of the Empire, Tsar Nicholas II commissioned the innovative chemist and photographer Sergei M. Prokudin-Gorskii to travel there by rail in the early years of the 20th century. In vivid color, he documented ancient ruins, vivid street scenes, and local people. The exhibition features 26 photographs, presented in custom-made light boxes, bearing witness to the region’s fascinating past.