On this segment of the Silk Road, we are going to visit Southern Kazakhstan, the region connecting Xinjiang, China with Uzbekistan in Central Asia, traveling from River Ili to Amur Darya, visiting Issyk, Tamgaly, Talgar, Almaty, Taraz, Shymkent, Otyrar and Sayram along the way. Many of these towns were once important stops along the celebrated Silk Road, the major thoroughfare between East and West before the Great Discovery. The great Buddhist monk and traveller Xuanzang (玄奘) passed through the area in 630AD on his pilgrimage to India. The famous Battle of Talas when Tang forces were vanquished by an Arab army in 751AD, drove the Chinese out of Central Asia and resulted in the spread of Islam in the ensuing years. In 1222, Qiu Chuji (丘處機), the legendary Daoist master also set foot on this region on his way to Hindu Kush to meet with Genghis Khan.
This region is rich in history and culture. Nomads from the steppes and sedentary civilizations left behind petroglyphs, sites of worshipping places of Zoroastrianism, Nestorianism and Manichaeism, as well as mausoleums and magnificent mosques. Apart from rich cultural heritage, we will also appreciate the breathtaking scenery and unique geological formations of the region.
Dr. Joseph Sun Pao Ting (丁新豹博士) was born in Guangzhou and raised in Hong Kong. He majored in Chinese Literature and Chinese History at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and graduated with a BA degree in 1974. He was conferred an MPhil in 1979 and a PhD in 1989, also from HKU.
Dr. Ting joined the Hong Kong Museum of Art as an Assistant Curator in 1979 and was appointed Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Museum of History in 1995. He retired in 2007 after serving for 28 years. He is currently an Honorary Assistant Professor in the HKU School of Chinese, and was an Honorary Research Fellow at the former Centre of Asian Studies. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a Member, inter alia, of the Antiquities Advisory Board, the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust and the Education Bureau of Hong Kong.
Dr. Ting is an Honorary Advisor to the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Museum of History, the Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, the Shenzhen Museum and the Guangdong Provincial Museum. He is an Honorary Fellow of the HKU and Hong Kong Institute of Education.