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Photographer's Note

Travels on the Silk Road:

The ancient Qal'at Al-Ukhaidir, a caravanserai-fortress, is situated near Razazza lake, roughly 50 km south of Karbala, Iraq (see Map:View). It served as an important stopover on a trade route from Egypt to Southern Iran, where the route then joined the Silk Road. The huge fortress comprises a primary hall, a big Iwan, a reception hall, a mosque and many quarters. Huge caravans or military troops could be accomodated. Today the building impresses by its splendid isolation in the desert and is a pointed reminder of an Arabic empire that at one time reached from the Mediterranean to the frontiers of China.

The castle was ordered to be built in 775 AD by a member of the then ruling Abbasid dynasty in a unique defensive style. Excavations at Ukhaidir were conducted in the early 20th century by Gertrude Bell, the famous "Desert Queen". Since then it has been carefully renovated by the state of Iraq.

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Additional Photos by Dietrich Meyer (meyerd) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 106 W: 52 N: 651] (1626)
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