- Silk Road Introduction
- Silk Road Map
- The Key Points of the Silk Road
- Silk Road Gallery
- Silk Road Links
Silk Road Introduction
For more than two thousands years the Silk Road was a super way to connect ancient China to the Western Asia, Africa and Europe, reaching Roman Empire in the Western world. Though this ancient Silk Road no longer function as trading routes today, revisiting parts of its sites offers the travelers a historical and cultural adventure, an experience to retrace the foot steps of extraordinary efforts of mankind and to see the marks of the development of civilizations.
The Silk Road is not a single route. There are several routes were developed in the trading history. The routes stated from the capital in Chang’an (the ancient name of Xi’an), headed up westwards the Gansu corridor through Lanzhou., then reached Jiayuguan – the great barrier of the Great Wall and Dunhuang – the first key point of the route before dividing into three major routes into Xinjiang. The northern route crossed the neck of the Gobi desert into Hami, then followed the northern foot of the Tianshan mountains, passed through the oases of Turpan and Kuqa before arriving at Kashgar. The central route branched off west along the southen foot of the Tianshan mountains, through city of Loulan, Arsu before reaching Kashgar. The southern route branched off west along the northern foot of Kunlun mountains, through Ruoqiang, Qiemo, Hetian before reaching Kashgar. Kashgar, a trading hub on the Silk Road, was where the Silk Road again splits to navigate north and south around the Taklimakan Desert. To the north, across the Pamirs to Samarkand heading towords the south of the Caspian Sea; to the south, over the Karakorum into India. There were other further north route split after Kuqa, through Tashkent and eventually reach the shores of the Caspian Sea.
The Key Points of the Silk Road
Chang’an (the ancient name of Xi’an), the start point of the Silk Road, is the cradle of Chinese history. Qin dynasty, the first to unite all of China under one empire, was founded here in the third century BC. The great legacy of the Terra Cotta Warriors was born here, a must-see tourist site in China.
Dunhuang, the west end of Gansu corridors, was an important city in the Silk Road history. The city flourished as a station for the coming and going of camel caravans carried merchandise, knowledge, and culture to the East and West. Dunhuang has several great tourist attractions, including the old Yangguan City, Yumen Pass, the Crescent Moon Spring, and Mogao Grottoes. Mogao Grotto, also called One Thousand Buddha Cave, lies the southeast of Dunhuang, is a world famous art treasury.
Kashgar, near China’s far western border in the Xinjiang autonomous region, is the one with the most Silk Road character. If you visit only one Silk City, let it be Kashgar. This ancient city on the Silk road is a living museum with images of a remote desert oasis, colorful bazaars, exotic peoples, and a fascinating past. The legendary Sunday Market, one of Asia’s greatest gatherings of traders, is something you must not miss.
The Silk Road stretched far beyond the boundary of Asia itself. It has its profound impact in the development of civilizations on both the East and the West. Steeped in history, colored by centuries of lore, a journey along this ancient trading route offers the ultimate travel experience.
Silk Road Map
Silk Road Links
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