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
  • Make visiting a snap! Enlarge the map to see main-campus parking options, or download the PDF

    Parking update: A new underground parking garage, located on Montrose Boulevard, is now open!

    • The outdoor parking lot on Bissonnet, across from the Law Building, is closed permanently.
    • Parking is available in two garages: an above-ground garage at 1144 Binz Street, and a new underground garage at 5101 Montrose Blvd.
    • Guests with limited mobility: We recommend that you use the covered drop-off lane at the Main Street entrance to the Beck Building, or use wheelchair-accessible parking in the garage at 1144 Binz Street.

    Parking Garage Locations

    • 1144 Binz Street
    • 5101 Montrose Boulevard

    Parking Fees*

    Parking payments may be made only with a major credit card. Also accepted: MasterCard and Visa debit cards.
    MFAH Members Visitors
    0–30 minutes FREE FREE
    31 minutes–4 hours $6 $10
    4–12 hours $10 $18
    12–24 hours $35 $35
    *Parking is free for MFAH visitors who enter the Museum between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Thursdays. General admission to the Museum is free on Thursdays, courtesy of Shell.


    Both parking garages are open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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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