Byron’s taste in The Road to Oxiana

Byron is known for writing everything he wanted: he had strong opinions and was not afraid to say anything. He was “opposed”, his friends will remember: opposed to authority, against norms, provocative in his style and manners. In The Road to Oxiana, his political incorrectness emerges in many ways: Byron, for instance, makes fun of…

“One thinks of…” Robert Byron describing monuments

As I have already written, the Road to Oxiana can be seen as an artistic  Bildungsroman, where the author, while traveling, becomes more and more aware of Islamic art. This awareness changes Byron’s perspectives and point of view: the more Byron travels, the more knowledge of Islamic art and architecture he builds. This background change…

Forgotten monuments Byron revives

Do people travel blind? ‘Do people travel blind?’ asks Byron on the 20th of March 1934, in front of the portal of the Friday Mosque of Yazd. Byron, on this occasion, is upset that no other traveler has described the mosque, that he considers magnificent. From the travelogue, it is clear that Byron relies on…

A description of the Buddhas of Bamiyan by Robert Byron

In early June 1934, on the 8th and the 9th of June to be precise, Robert Byron visited the Bamiyan valley and the two Buddhas. This post will be kind off-topic for my blog since it will not deal with Islamic art. Nonetheless, I have decided to include the Bamiyan Buddhas in the Road to…

Epilogue: the end of a long journey

I began to feel dazed, dazed at the prospect of coming to a stop The last entry of Robert Byron’s travelogue is dated to the 8th of July 1934. His journey started on the 20th of August the previous years. Considering he spent 11 months traveling (but probably more, since in the first entry he…

An Indian minaret, with a Ghaznavid taste: the Qutb Minar

it becomes Indian and painstaking, and loses its freedom It is quite ironic that the last monument Byron visited in his trip was neither in Afghanistan or in Iran: on the 21st of June 1934 he visits the Qutb Minar and with this, ends the long list of monuments of the Road to Oxiana. The…

The Tomb of Sultan Mahmud and its gates, commented by Robert Byron

The Tomb of Sultan Mahmud […] has attracted the notice of more travellers than the towers The tomb of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, who ruled the Ghaznavid Empire from 998 to 1030, was built in the village of Rauza, in a spot known as ‘Victory Garden’. In that spot, the Sultan liked to spend his…

A minaret Byron forgot to mention: the minaret of Damghan

… … … It is not clear when Byron actually visited the Minaret of Damghan or anyway when he took the photos of the minaret. Most probably he visited this minaret while visiting the Tarikh Khana, the Gunbad-i Chihil Dukhtaran and the Pir-i Alamdar (all recorded in his travelogue on the date of 13th of…

The Towers of Victory, the function of the minaret, and a new script

commemorative rather than religious One post is not enough to talk about the Towers of Victory, that Byron visited on the 15th of June 1934, while in Ghazni. The Towers of Victory are two free-standing minarets, and possibly, their function cannot be ascribed to religion, as Byron writes in his travelogue: “The famous ‘Towers of…

Off-topic: an Italian spin-off

I am Italian born and bred, as many of you may know. I have started this blog 4 years ago, in 2014, and since then, everything I have written, both here and on Twitter, have been written in English (with a lot of mistakes, no doubt). I started this blog in English for a couple…