Author: Bernhard Weßels
Early Jesuit Travellers in Central Asia, 1603-1721
Language : English
Size: 26 mb
To many generations of geographers Central Asia, especially Tihet, was the land of mystery and darkness, isolated by nature and by man, in whose midst lay the sacred city of Lhasa, evenmore mysterious and unapproachab le than Mecca or Kerbela; and it is only for some decades past that it has counted among the great fields of operation of modern geography. High as Mont Blanc are the desert-like plateaux of this "Roof of the World", and as if this elevation was not enough to render them difficult of access, they are set about by almost impassable mountain ranges; an arctic climate reigns in those bleak and forlorn regions. And if a traveller be so undaunted and hardy as to brave all the obstacles of nature, and to climb his way towards those icy wastes, he will find his road barred and himself ruthlessly turned back by the sparse inhabitants, inhospitable as their mountain sides. Hardly any explorer from Prejevalsky to Sven Hedin but testifies to the jealousy with which those desolate regions are guarded, and even as late as 1923 Dr. Montgomery McGovern experienced this inveterate distrust of the foreigner.