A curious work, made of an admixture of the author’s school culture, academic readings and religious education, the book provides uneven information on the historical or legendary figures associated with pre-modern holy places of former Soviet Central Asia.  A particular place has been devoted to Uzbekistan, with a special section on Samarqand, to Kazakhstan and, more unexpectedly, to Turkmenistan.  Unfortunately, most notices are limited to already well-documented biographical data of prominent holy figures of Central Asian past, without development on the history of each holy place neither description of the latter’s architectural or other features.  Remains to ask oneself on which basis the UNESCO’s International Institute of Central Asian Studies (based in Samarqand) has been associated to the preparation of this work, given the latter’s being alien to most elementary requirements of historical and archaeological research.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-4.3-359