Retracing the Silk Road in Uzbekistan

The caretaker at Tamerlane's tomb draws his finger across his throat and jabs his chest. In my eagerness to photograph the crypt it seems I have damned us all, unleashing the warrior King's curse. It wouldn't be the first time Tamerlane has struck from his grave. On June 22, 1941, Soviet archaeologists working in the Samarkand crypt opened the sarcophagus to study the body and found the inscription: "Whoever opens this will be defeated by an enemy more fearsome than I." Hours later, Hitler invaded Russia. Five weeks after the great Emir was reinterred in 1942, the Germans surrendered at Stalingrad.

Samarkand...

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