2 The She'iltoth (questions) of Rab Alai (8th century) also belong probably to the school of Pumbeditha, though their author was not Gaon.
High plateaus like that of Pamir (the " Roof of the World ") and Armenia, and lofty mountain chains like the snow-clad Caucasus, the Alai, the Tian-shan, the Sayan Mountains, exist only on the outskirts of the empire.
Ellsworth Huntington threw new light on the Tian-shan plateau and the Alai range by his explorations of 1903; and Sven Hedin, between 1899 and 1902, was collecting material in Turkestan and Tibetan fields, and resumed his journeys in 1905-1908, the result being to revolutionize our knowledge of the region north of the upper Tsanpo (see Tibet).
The administration of kazas, or cantons, was usually entrusted to the cadis and the holders of the more important fiefs; the sanjaks, or departments, were ruled by alai beys or mir-i-livas (colonels or brigadiers), pashas with one horsetail; the vilayets, or provinces, by beylerbeys or mir-i-mirans (lord of lords), pashas with two horse-tails; these were all originally military officers, who, in addition to their administrative functions, were charged with the duty of mustering and commanding the feudal levies in war time.
The Alai range of the Pamir, continued by the Kokshaltau range and the Khan-tengri group of the Tian-shan, and the Sailughem range of the Altai, which is continued in the unnamed border-range of West Sayan (between the Bei-kem and the Us), belong to this category.
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