There were great steppes, and rocky table-lands
Stretching half-limitless in starlit night,
With alien campfires shedding feeble light
On beasts with tinkling bells, in shaggy bands.
Far to the south the plain sloped low and wide
To a dark zigzag line of wall that lay
Like a huge python of some primal day
Which endless time had chilled and petrified.
~ HPL ~
My thread on Central Asia in the Victorian Era got several responses relating to early 20th century explorers. So, I thought this companion thread would be helpful and keep things a bit more organized.
As I've said elsewhere, I define "Central Asia" (I prefer the more evocative "Inner Asia") as anywhere north of Persia, south of the Arctic, east of the Urals and west of China proper (Chinese Turkestan was a Chinese colony, pure and simple). Any of you are free to disagree; it matters not to me.
This region possessed picturesque cities like Samarkand and Tashkent, ruins galore and plenty of ethnic groups hostile to foreigners. It also hid dread citadels of mystery like Leng, Yian-Ho and Yahlgan. Adventure and eldritch horror were to be found for anyone crazy enough to make the arduous journey just to get there.
As Queen Victoria lay on her deathbed, Inner Asia was beginning to feel the tread of non-Russian and non-Brit explorers. Scandinavians and Germans were at the forefront of that and the trend would continue into WWII. Of course, von Junzt beat all of them there by half a century.
Sven Hedin, while technically a Victorian, was a sort of godfather to those non-Brits thirsting to explore the Roof of the World or feel the sands of the Gobi beneath their feet. A website devoted to Hedin:
Henning Haslund-Christensen was something of a protege of Hedin. He died in Kabul in 1948:
These two men bracket the era, but they are by no means the only Europeans/Westerners to write about Inner Asia during that tumultuous period. I hope to hear about other wanderers in trackless wastes from my fellow Yoggie members.
Oskar von Niedermayer, while not much of an explorer in Central Asia, certainly did much to keep things interesting in the region:
Roy Chapman Andrews (along with Francis Xavier "El Borak" Gordon) was one of the first Yanks to dare the sands of the Gobi:
Edited by deuce, 11 October 2016 - 09:33 AM.