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! Visit mfah.org/parking for complete parking info, including a map you can download.

    Two Parking Garages        

    Parking Garage Hours

    Open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Parking Garage Fees

    • Parking payments may be made only with major credit cards, or with MasterCard and Visa debit cards.
    • The first 30 minutes are always free. On Thursday, parking is free for visitors who enter the Museum between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
    • For hourly rates, go to mfah.org/parking
    Recommendation for guests with limited mobility: 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.

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

Join the Houston Museum District

Join our mailing list for sneak peeks to upcoming events and insider information on the best museum district in the world

I'm interested in memberships