Sir Aurel Stein's Expeditions
in Chinese Turkestan


Among the early 20th-century explorers of Chinese Turkestan, (Xinjiang), Sven Hedin, Paul Pelliot, Albert Grünwedel, Albert von Le Coq, Pyotr Kozlov and Nikolay Przhevalsky, polyglot Marc Aurel Stein was one of the most universally educated. He read Sanskrit and other early Indian languages, spoke Urdu, Kashmiri, and Turkish and was well versed in Buddhism and other Indian religions. To his regret he had to read Chinese in translations. Having studied classical, Hinyana Buddhism he abhorred the Mahayana and the Tibetans. He was a solitary man, whose Austro-Hungarian sentiment reveals itself touchingly whenever he describes emotional scenes. Whilst Hedin was a raconteur per excellence, Stein's meticulous writings are overwritten. He left us with several thousand pages of reports and “popular” travelogues, which I cannot believe have ever been read in toto by anyone. I have tried to cull pieces from this oeuvre which show the person and his extraordinary research.

Stein's Biography
1862 – 1943

First Expedition

Second Expedition

Third Expedition