The Silk Road Initiative

THE SILK ROAD INITIATIVE


February 2016

April 2017

A missionary journey


From Istanbul to Xi’an, our itinerary depicts a long missionary journey as William of Rubruck’s, Marco Polo’s, or Ibn Battuta’s. Their respective works are still precious to document and understand the societies and events they depicted.

We divided the journey in three parts of two months each in the field. The first one took place in Turkey and Iran in February and March 2016, the second was in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan last November and December and the last one covered China in March and April 2017.

The Silk Roads cross the birthplace of many cultural identities and religions, their different branches and traditions such as Zoroastrianism, Baha’ism, Taoism and Christianism with Orthodox churches and Catholic church and Islam with Sufi turuq, Shia and Sunni Hanafi.

Protecting our heritage


Today we are facing the global need to document and to preserve.

The wars and acts of terrorism have proven the need to protect the material and immaterial heritage of humanity in these regions.

The same goes for the Silk Roads, which are becoming (again) a major geopolitical and economic challenge for the years to come.

In the countries that we crossed we observed similar characteristics and issues. These countries are all very diverse and multicultural (Kurds, Armenians, Turk-Mongols, Azeri, Persians and Arabs for example in Iran).

We mostly saw declining populations of these communities, sometimes persecuted by the political regimes.

Most of the Christians, Baha’i, Jewish, Zoroastrian and Yezidis communities disappeared, flying away to Europe and the USA during the last 50 years.

A MULTIMEDIA APPROACH


It urged us to document their stories, their day-to-day life, ceremonies, rituals, sacred sites and places before they may collapse and disappear.

During the preparatory work and the months spent in these countries, we met a lot of representatives of these communities, people, languages and cultures. We shared their daily life and discussed their traditions and their place in their country and society.

We brought back hours of interviews, audio and video recordings and more than 10,000 pictures illustrating our missionary journey.

Have a look to their stories.