Civilization in the West

jiaohe

If you want to see the exposed gears of civilization, come to China’s northwest province of Xinjiang, where the ancient cultures of the silk road mix with the seven countries that still border it today Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan/ India. Visit the ruins of Jiaohe city, a trade center on a plateau until the water dried up seven centuries ago; visit the vineyards still using the irrigation systems dug in China’s “Death Valley” two-thousand years ago; eat raisins dried on trellises in brick-walled homes. Time seems to have stood still, told out only by the site of motorcycles, cellphone towers, tour buses, and impeccably paved roads. Continue reading