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I had a smile on my face as I strode across the tarmac of Samarkand airport, for I had arrived at last in the city I had toiled for years to recreate as a novelist.Samarkand was once one of the greatest cities of Central Asia, the "Rome of the East". Of all the cities of the Silk Road, Samarkand is without doubt the most evocative.For 2,500 years, Samarkand maintained its position as the richest and most populous metropolis on the Central Asian section of the Silk Road – the series of routes on which goods, people, philosophies and culture flowed back and forth from China to the Mediterranean and all points in between. Khiva was the last of our Silk Road destinations.In just nine days, we had seen a significant section of the western Chinese end and Central Asian part of the Silk Road, starting at Kashgar. From Kashgar, we went to Samarkand, a distance of 775 km.
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