This book solves the long-standing mystery of a Christian monastery near Samarkand, seen and described by two Arab travellers in the tenth century. Despite several attempts made since the 1890s, its precise location had never been established. The first part covers the quest, the find, and the archaeological excavations’ results. Then the author proceeds to search for a mediaeval Christian enclave near modern Tashkent, which appears to have been washed away by a river that changed its course over centuries.
Apart from the Christians, the book also touches upon the Manichaeans, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and other Sogdians, their languages, faiths, and material remnants.
Alexei Savchenko studied languages and history of the Middle East in Kiev, St. Petersburg and Oxford and taught at St. Vladimir University in Kiev. He has conducted archaeological excavations in the Samarkand, Bukhara and Tashkent regions of Uzbekistan and in Northern Tajikistan.
Any student of Central Asian society, economy or ethnicities in the Middle Ages; a specialist in Church architecture and liturgical planning of the Eastern Rite churches; a specialist in East Iranian languages; a student of ancient Central Asian religions (Christianity, Manichaeism, Buddhism, Zoro¬astrianism) and inter-faith relations.