Read three blogs on Georgia, Dragons and Nowruz by team member Niko Kontovas for the Bodleian Library

The Devil’s Fortress at Çıldır. (photo courtesy of Niko Kontovas, 2023)

T’ao-K’larjeti: The cradle of the Georgian Empire. From crumbling cathedrals to gleaming spires

In the late ninth century CE, after centuries of foreign domination in Tbilisi, the Bagratid family fled to their ancestral lands of ტაო T’ao and კლარჯეთი K’larjeti to the south. Here in their place of refuge, the Bagratids established the Kingdom of the Iberians. In doing so, they launched a cultural, religious, and political renaissance which would culminate in the establishment of the Georgian Empire and a dynasty that would endure for a millennium…… Continue reading

Here be dragons…

It is often that St. George was proclaimed as the patron saint of England at the Synod of Oxford in 1222, and though historians cast doubt on this claim, St George’s feast day has, in the minds of many, a special relationship with our city.

As it turns out, the patron “saint” of our library, the 12th c. CE poet نظامی گنجوی Niẓāmī Ganjavī, was also a huge fan of dragons, and featured them prominently in his story of the هفت پیکر Haft Paykar or “Seven Forms”. Continue reading

New Day, New Face!

What is Nowruz?

Nowruz is, at its core, a celebration of spring and – more specifically – of the spring equinox. In the Iranian calendar, which is a solar calendar, this is also the first day of the first month, فروردین Farvardīn, making Nowruz the Iranian New Year celebration.

While Nowruz is celebrated by numerous groups which do not make use of the Iranian calendar, the name Nowruz and certain traditions associated with it betray a common origin somewhere in the distant, pre-Islamic past of greater Iran. Continue reading

Get up to speed with these videos, podcasts and cool tools!

Are you in need of a broad recap of the history of silk roads ?

Do you want to find out who Timur, founder of the Timurid Empire was, and how he went down into history with two different faces? find out in under 6 minutes!

Or learn about the Safavid Dynasty in this BBC podcast

Do you want to go back to the very beginnings of the Silk Roads? Then listen to the podcast The Ancients and find out about the Silk Roads in the bronze age. with Dr. Miljana Radivojevic.

Use the interactive map of Unesco to get a quick introduction to some of the major cities along the silk roads.

Be inspired by these beautiful photographs made by young people for the YOUTH LENS ON THE SILK ROADS CONTEST