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…

Who knows Khoja Aghacha?

Who St Agacha was I don’t know. After paying a visit to the Shrine of Khoja Abu Nasr Parsa, on the 30th of May 1934, Byron continues his visit of Balkh and goes to a small shrine, the Shrine of Khoja Aghacha, that dates back to late 15th century. Byron is not impressed, not at…

Byron and the Shrine of Khoja Abu Nasr Parsa

An unknown force seems to be squeezing it upwards. It is the 30th of May 1934 when Byron writes in his travelogue that he is in Balkh, where he spent the whole day. In this entry, Byron also describes a monument: the Shrine of a spiritual leader, that died in 1460 c.e.: Khoja Abu Nasr Parsa….

No image available: imagining Termez

All the same, I should like to have seen the ruins of Termez Byron’s plan was to cross the Oxus river. The river, known by the Latin name Oxus, is also called the Amu Darya and is one of the major rivers of Central Asia. Byron has thus far traveled around Afghanistan and Iran, keeping…

The dream of the Rowze-i Sharif

[it] owes its existence to a dream On the 27th of May 1934 Byron visits and describes the Mausoleum of Hazrat Ali (most commonly called Rowze-i Sharif) in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan, and two smaller mausoleums next to it. THE LEGEND The passage Byron dedicates to the Mausoleum opens with a historical account of how it was…