The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Conquerors and Caravans: Culture and Society in Medieval Central Asia

Thursday, May. 4, 2017 – Thursday, May. 4, 2017

06:30 PM – 07:30 PM


Presented by Lisa Balabanlilar, associate professor of history, Rice University

In June 2016, Professor Lisa Balabanlilar and a group of Rice alumni and faculty made a trek to Central Asia to explore the western Silk Road. For centuries, the oasis cities of Samarqand, Bukhara, Merv, and Khiva were the center of a global caravan trade and served as the glittering capital cities of a long series of merchant kingdoms and conquerors, from the Sogdian Persians to the Turco-Mongol Empires of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, to the Soviet Russians.

This lecture provides historical and cultural context for the exhibition Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats. Balabanlilar traces Central Asia’s fascinating history from the Middle Ages through the flourishing 19th century, and details the complex challenges the region faces today.


  • Tuesday - Wednesday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Thursday, 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    Friday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
    Sunday, 12:15 pm - 7:00 pm
    Monday: Closed (Except Monday Holidays). Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
  • $5 MFAH Members $10 Nonmembers Secure your seat in advance! Get tickets online, or stop by any MFAH admissions desk.

Directions & Parking

  • Free Parking
  • Paid Parking
  • Street Parking
  • Free parking is available in four outdoor street-level lots north of the Law Building. Two are along Main Street: one at Bissonnet one at Oakdale; and two are off Montrose Boulevard: one at the Glassell Studio School and one at the Glassell Junior School. Overflow parking is available at Park Plaza parking garages at 1200 Binz and 1201 Hermann Drive. Located directly east of the Beck and Law buildings the MFAH Visitors Center at 5600 Fannin features a four-story covered parking garage. The easy-to-find parking entrance is on Binz marked by a large yellow arrow. Parking Fee is $6 all day.

Special Offers / Dining

Paolo Fronza, from Fellini Caffè, runs this sophisticated dining operation. Enjoy an array of Italian-inspired fare with a Texas flair, a European-style coffee bar, a kids menu, and much more at the MFA Café, located on the lower level of the Beck Building.

Events at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

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