Samarkand to Venice

Complete your journey along the Silk Road as you cross desert and sea on your way to Venice. Written by Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent.


Scene summaries may contain spoilers
You enter Samarkand 900 miles later. It's the geographical heart of the Silk Road, and a seat of Islamic culture and learning. Items from across the world are sold in the markets, and there is great interest in science, mathematics, medicine, and philosophy. But now you must continue your journey west!
You're 500 miles north-west of Samarkand, crossing the Kyzylkum desert with a caravan led by a Bukharan merchant. The desert is filled with armed raiders, so you mainly travel at night. You narrowly escape a band, and arrive at the city of Khiva.
It's AD 1346 and you're in Kaffa, a Genoese port on the Black Sea. The city has been under siege by the Mongols for two years. The Mongols have started dying of a mysterious disease, and they use a trebuchet to launch some of the bodies into the city. Within hours, the disease spreads. You smuggle yourself onto a galleon leaving the city.
You're going to have to brave the open sea instead of hugging the coast and risk the 150 miles to Constantinople. But the Black Death has already killed five men on board, and others are sickening. You reach Constantinople two days later, and the Mate is adamant that you will dock, even with half the crew dead.
The Black Death killed 40% of the population of Constantinople, and the disease spread across Europe. The city has seen better days, but it is still a thriving and beautiful place. But now you're heading towards Venice.
After 5000 miles and 4500 years, your odyssey is about to end. You're entering the richest city on earth, a place that contains echoes of the Silk Road everywhere. The great overland route will soon be eclipsed by the sea route from Europe to the Americas, but many things we consider mundane today – peaches, porcelain, tea, even paper – were originally brought here along the Silk Road.


Cast listings may contain spoilers
Six to Start Ensemble
Six to Start Ensemble
Christina Ho
Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent
Matt Wieteska
Sound Designer
Mark Pittam