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Asian Corridor 6, Guge Mystery of the Lost Kingdom

The last of these films from the Korean Broadcasting System on the Asian Corridor and old tea and horse trade routes looks at the ancient kingdom of Guge, which was once one of the most powerful and richest kingdoms in the Himalayas.

Guge was in the far west of Tibet, not far from the Nepalese and Ladakhi borders, and sat on a crossroads in the Silk Roads. It was founded by exiles when the Tibetan monarchy was chased out of Lhasa in the 10th century.

The fact that it was set up in one of the most arid zones on earth is truly remarkable, no trees can grow there, and crops like barley were grown only through the diversion of the rivers.

However the kingdom did have gold, and it is this which is on display everywhere, but particularly in the surviving murals which line the walls of the ruined temples in the city, and in the film we see many examples of some of the finest mural painting in Tibet.

The kingdom collapsed around the 18th century, probably as a result of Ladhaki invasions, and the ruins were only found again in the 1930s, when archeological works began on the remains.

It is truly a fascinating story to end a very fine series, and at the end of the episode the journey which we have undertaken over the past six weeks is nicely summarised, showing how important once again the trade routes have been for the spread of cultures and civilisations.

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