10 x 60 - HD
The Silk Road was once a heavily trafficked trade route across the Asian continent. In recent years, the historical Silk Routes have been brought back to life and actor Ville Haapasalo, a household name in Russia, takes viewers on a fascinating 30 day journey encountering friendly locals and breathtaking scenery along the way.
Winner: Golden Venla Award, Lifestyle
Produced by Aito Media (2011)
Episode 1: Days 1-3, Georgia
30-day trip on the modern day Silk Road starts from Caucasus, Georgia by the Black Sea. We are introduced to the modern capital city Tbilisi, to the delicious food of Caucasus, and to the sulfur spa from where Tbilisi originated. In the end of the episode the host, actor Ville Haapasalo, climbs up a wobbly ladder to the top of a 40-meter high stone pillar where a monk, Father Maxime, is renovating a monastery.
Episode 2: Days 4-6, Georgia
Ville travels outside of Tbilisi to find marks on the Silk Road of an ancient cave town. He visits the birth place of Stalin and tastes Georgian wines. The highlight of the trip is Kakheti, the famous wine region in eastern Georgia. There we experience the elders of the Gurdjaani town singing polyphonic songs.
Episode 3: Days 7-9, Tajikistan
Travelling in Tajikistan starts from the north, from a former soviet elite town of Khojand where Ville gets to witness the demolition of the last Lenin statue in the Central Asia. The trip continues along the serpentine roads in the footsteps of Alexander the Great to the snow covered Fan Mountains. The Sarytag village, where people speak the ancient Silk Road era language Sogdiana, is located by the Lake Iskander-Kul at 2 200 meters. There Ville surprisingly finds a sauna and prepares Plov, an old Central Asian dish.
Episode 4: Days 10-12, Tajikistan
The trip continues to southern Tajikistan to meet the shepherds who practice the most common profession of the country. The beautiful green hills reveal a deadly secret, life-threatening scorpion spider. Ville then travels to the only big city in the country, Dushanbe, where he has an opportunity to experience Islamic rites and discuss with the imam in the oldest mosque in Dushanbe. On the last day a local family of 20 people in three generations invites Ville to their city home.
Episode 5: Days 13-15, Uzbekistan
The Uzbekistan leg of the trip starts from the south border, from the ancient Urgench region. An old river Amu-Darya runs through it. Ville spends his first night in a yurt and in the morning rides a camel to the ruins of an ancient Silk Road merchant’s old castle. The trip continues to ancient Khiva where lives a circus family of many generations. The journey from Khiva to Bukhara goes through an exhaustingly hot desert. Luckily the travelers are awarded in Bukhara with a visit to a local home where there is no lack of food or drink, a demonstration of local hospitability.
Episode 6: Days 16-18, Uzbekistan
In Bukhara Ville gets invited to a traditional Uzbekistani wedding and he also learns how to make clay pots. The city of Samarkand astonishes with architecture from the Silk Road era. A local delicacy, dried salty yoghurt balls, can be found from the local market. In the end of this adventure, the travelers get away from the heat to a lush river near Tashkent. While rafting, Ville hurts his knee in the rough bumps of the river.
Episode 7: Days 19-21, Kazakhstan
In the beginning of the trip to Kazakhstan Ville explores the garden city of Almaty. He visits a local singer and hears traditional Kazakhstani music. Specialty of Almaty is an ice rink on a hillside where many speed skating records have been broken. Alongside of the ice rink Ville prepares horse sausages. The next morning he watches a championship game in Central Asian horse polo, kokpar, where two teams riding horses try to get a dead goat’s body to the goal area. After the frightening game, Ville is honored by giving out the prizes and by getting to ride the winning team’s kokpar horse. The following day Ville travels to the holy Urguntas area to meet a Sufi shaman. The healer Bifatima cleanses Ville from evil with holy water. Ville climbs to the dragon mountain where he sees his guardian angel and bursts in tears.
Episode 8: Days 22-24, Kazakhstan
There is an astonishing mountain range rising above Almaty. An observatory is located on top of it, on the Kyrgyzstan side. Ville gets to know local astronomers and is allowed to view the Saturn with a telescope from the soviet era. The next morning Ville hops on a plane and flies to Kyzylorda in southwest Kazakhstan, a merchant city in the days of the Silk Road. Ville spends the next two days sightseeing Kyzylorda with a local photographer. Finally he travels ex tempore to the capital city Astana to experience the most futuristic city of the trip.
Episode 9: Days 25-27, Mongolia
Ville starts exploring Mongolia by visiting a great marketplace in Ulan Bator where one can buy anything from yurts to electronics. On the market he gets acquainted with a merchant who invites Ville to his home. Next Ville travels to a workshop where the traditional Mongolian horse head violins are made. Ville also gets to play one of them. The next day before traveling from Ulan Bator to the countryside, Ville visits a Tibetan herb doctor who prescribes him a local herb which can be found from the countryside. On the countryside Ville visits a nomad family. The family has goats, horses, and camels. Ville learns how to cook Mongolian traditional dishes, to ride a camel, and to milk a hundred goats. Family’s youngest daughter Moonshine teaches Ville Mongolian children’s dances and a wit game that is played with sheep bones.
Episode 10: Days 28-30, Mongolia
Ville spends a night in a yurt in Karakorum and fishes his own breakfast with the local teenagers. After breakfast he visits a Tibetan Buddhist monastery built by a grandchild of the Genghis Khan, takes part in a church service and talks with a Buddhist monk. He then visits the local market to find the Mongolian miracle herb that the herb doctor in Ulan Bator prescribed to him. He also challenges the local men to play pool with him. One of the players is a throat singer who comes and sings in Ville’s yurt in the evening. He also teaches Ville to sing with his throat. The next morning Ville goes to the mountains to find the only pure wild horses in the world. The journey has an emotional ending on top of a famous turtle stone.