From Istanbul, Turkey to Xian, China along the historic and fabled Silk Road, this eight-week adventure crosses the vast deserts of Central Asia, high mountain passes, and through crowded, bustling cities. Experience difficult riding conditions, mechanical breakdowns, accidents, and learn about the intrigue of the Silk Road’s history, countries, and cultures that make the hardships more than worthwhile.
Episode 1: Turkey
Leaving the west behind, 18 motorcyclists begin an 8000-mile journey on the Silk Road from Istanbul Xian, China. Ancient Nicea provides an opportunity to visit a pottery workshop and a visit to a bazaar in Bursa shows how important silk is, even in present times. The village of Safranbolu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a collection of historic Ottoman houses and an opportunity to experience an old caravanserai or “camel motel”. Cappadocia is a landscape of fairy chimneys and rock towers and the group gets a chance to take a contour balloon excursion. Heading towards the Black Sea, the riders lay over in Amasya which was an important city in Turkey’s fight for independence. Preparing for their first border crossing, they have a chance to reflect on how much they have seen and experienced on this portion of the ancient Silk Road.
Episode 2: Georgia, Azerbaijan & Turkmenistan
Known for its scenic beauty, legendary wine and generous hospitality, Georgia belongs neither to the east nor the west. Crossing the border into the former Soviet Republic, the riders experience an immediate contrast in cultures. In the capitol of Tbilisi the group learns about violence ahead in Uzbekistan. Outside the hotel, sirens wail and hundreds of ambulances arrive on scene, in preparation for what? Riding across Azerbaijan is a cold and wet and challenges the resolve of the motorcyclists. A stop for tea with the locals is a chance to participate in this important part of the culture. At the caravansary in Sheki, locals arrive with vodka in hand and a celebration ensues. The oil industry dominates life in Baku, the capitol of Azerbaijan. In Turkmenistan, a strange country ruled by a bizarre dictator who has erected dozens of monuments in honor of himself. The capitol of Ashgabat is a gleaming jewel of marble buildings, golden monuments and flowing fountains – in direct contrast to the stark and forbidding desert beyond. The Tolkuchka Oriental Bazaar is one of the most vibrant and largest open markets in Central Asia and the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with the Silk Roads most famous beasts of burden – at the Camel Market. 7000 years of Central Asian history is on display in ancient Merv, one of the largest oasis on the ancient Silk Road.
Episode 3: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan & Kazakhstan
Political unrest in Uzbekistan threatens the safety of the group as they head across Central Asia and the team of motorcyclists is forced to ride in convoy under the watchful eyes of local police. Cultural highlights of the Silk Road in the former Soviet Republic include a stunning collection of historic treasures, mosques, minarets and the oldest Koran in existence. In Kyrgyzstan the team heads into the spectacular geography of the Tian Shan Mountains and Lake Issy-Kul, meeting a group of nomadic horsemen who share cultural games. One of the riders is injured near the border of Kazakhstan before the team arrives in the city of Almaty.
Episode 4: China
After more than a month of motorcycling across Central Asia from Istanbul, the GlobeRiders cross the Korghass Pass and arrive in western China. After stopping briefly in Urumqi, the city furthest from any ocean in the wolrd, the motorcyclists head across the Gobi Desert under oppressive heat. Explorations in the oasis city of Turpan reveal the heart of a grape growing region. Dangerous riding conditions plague the team as they cross China with road construction, detours, fatigue and traffic making things difficult as they head to their final destination. Cultural explorations in China include a visit to the western part of the Great Wall, pigskin rafting on the Yellow River and Xian’s army of Terra cotta warriors.
Winner of Best Director of an HD Documentary from HDFEST 2007
LENGTH: 4 x 60 Minutes
INTERNATIONAL TRACK: Yes
CLOSED CAPTIONS: No
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
PRODUCTION YEAR: 2007
RELEASE YEAR: 2007
SUPPLIER: GlobeRiders/Wide World HD Productions
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
RIGHTS TERRITORY: Worldwide