The seemingly only thing Chairman Mao and Santa Claus have in common is an infatuation with the colour red. After all, only a short time ago Ye Olde Saint Nick and his merry elves would have been attacked as counterrevolutionaries and agents of Western Imperialism in Communist China. But change is now fast afoot in China.
From Urumqi, Gustaf Mannerheim travelled over the Bogda Shan range to the ancient ruined cities scattered in the Turpan Depression. He spent time collecting manuscript fragments and other ancient scraps at the ruins of Jiaohe and Gaocheng, and visited the Buddhist caves at Bezeklik in the Flaming Mountains and in a gorge behind the Uyghur village of Toyuk. He then continued on to the eastern part of Xinjiang, visiting Barkol and Hami before crossing the border into Gansu Province. In Gansu, his first significant stop was Dunhuang, an ancient crossroads on the Silk Road.
Hexi Corridor: Barbarians Inside the Gate Route Map Click on the features to view details about Mannerheim’s route from Jiayuguan into territories traditionally occupied by the Western and Eastern Yugur peoples. The modern Sunan Yugur Autonomous County is shaded orange on the map and my route is depicted by the blue line. View Chapter 11: [...]
Labrang: Stoned In 1906, the Chief of the Russian General Staff instructed Gustaf Mannerheim to “assess general conditions and local attitudes to Chinese policies, the political movements in regions or in local tribes toward self-government, [and] the role of the Dalai Lama in such movements.” So from Lanzhou, he ventured into southern Gansu or what [...]
Lanzhou: The Chinese Renaissance In 1907, Lanzhou was still an archaic outpost whose fortified clay walls ran for two kilometres along the Yellow River. It lay pinched at a narrow spot in the dramatic river gorge, surrounded by mountaintop temples, terraced farmland and fruit groves. Inside the fortress town, streets recently paved in cobblestone were [...]