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Volume 51, Number 1 January/February 2000

In This Issue

January/February 2000
Dreaming of Farasan
Written and photographed by Erik Bjurström

Descending like slow-motion skydivers through the warm waters of the Red Sea, we land in lush coral gardens bedenizened with a rich variety of marine life, from graceful six-meter rays to feisty seven-centimeter gobies. The Farasan Bank, off southwestern Saudi Arabia, is one of the least explored of the Red Sea's many chains of coral reefs.

No Better Job
Written by Louis Werner
Photographed by Kevin Bubriski

The coppersmiths of Lahic still make beautiful utensils in traditional shapes, and still claim, with good reason, that they're the best in the Caucasus. In a foothills town whose terrain offers few fields to till, the varied skilled crafts—one scholar catalogued more than 100— have been a steady source of both sustenance and pride.

The Roman Millennium
Written by Frank L. Holt
Photographs courtesy of Frank L. Holt Collection

Philip the Arab was no mean player of Roman imperial politics, and his new-won crown was hardly secure. The turn of the millennium, in the year 247, was an opportunity he could not forego, so the thousandth anniversary of the eternal city's founding was lavishly celebrated with parades, games and, from six mints, a plethora of new coins bearing slogans of official optimism.

Roots Deeper Than Oil
Written by Louis Werner
Photographed by Kevin Bubriski

A twist of grass from the Central Asian steppes—the grass that nourished their ancestors' horses—smells sweeter to many residents of Baku than the oil that is flooding their city with money. Baku has seen oil booms before, and knows that the culture of Azerbaijan is the truer treasure.

Shekki: Come and See
Written by Louis Werner
Photographed by Kevin Bubriski

Shekki is a sleepy, red-roofed mountain village, but it has much to remember. Once it was a bustling center of the silk trade, seat and substance of the provincial rulers of northwest Azerbaijan, who mocked would-be invaders from its fortress fastness.