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Silk road

Silk road definition

Silk road or silk route refers to a long trading road which connects east to the west. From 2nd century BCE to the 18th century, chinese people in east had the opportunity to contact the romanians. And in these interactions, products such as silk and ideas like religions were shared. In an other word, this road made globalisation possible due to the interaction of people living along the regions.

The silk road wasn’t a straight route linking china in far east to Romania in europe. In fact it was Ferdinand von Richthofen, the German geographer and traveler, who designated the road as the silk road (‘Seidenstrasse’ in Germany) in 1877 CE. And later the world known european explorer Marco Polo traveled through the route and explain in detail about it in his famous work.

In addition to the silk, a wide range of other goods was traded along the Silk Road. Silk went westward, and wools, gold, and silver went east. China also received Nestorian Christianity and Buddhism (from India) via the Silk Road.

silk road map

silk road map

Influence of China on Silk road

It was firstly during the Han Dynasty of China that Silk road has established. As you see in the map, China was the starting point of trading in west. Besides the Silk Road in the northwest of China, there are another two trade roads in the southwest of China and by sea, which also contributed greatly to the development of the world. They are called the “Southern Silk Road” and the “Silk Road on the Sea”.

In 139 BC, Emperor Wudi (156–87 BC) sent out Zhang Qian (200–114 BC) to lead an embassy into Central Asia. He established diplomatic relations, and the Han sent the first trade caravans through Xinjiang.

Trade grew and declined, and it reached a height when the Mongols had control of Eurasia from the Yuan Empire (1279–1368) to Eastern Europe. The fall of the Yuan Empire and the growth of maritime trade ended Silk Road trading.

The main good exported from China to the east was silk.


Why was the Silk Road important?

The Silk Road was important because it helped to generate trade and commerce between a number of different kingdoms and empires. This helped for ideas, culture, inventions, and unique products to spread across much of the settled world.

silk road facts

– The road was more than 4,000 miles long.
– The road was more frequented by meddlers rather than merchants.
– Other routes originated from the main silk road were developed for safety concerns.

List of trading goods:

From east to west

Precious Stones
China (plates, bowls, cups, vases)
Spices (such as cinnamon and ginger)
Bronze and gold artifacts

From West to East

Saddles and Riding Tack
The grapevine and grapes
Dogs and other animals both exotic and domestic
Animal furs and skins
Woolen blankets, rugs, carpets
Textiles (such as curtains)
Gold and Silver
Weapons and armor

Silk road cities

Thanks to this 4000 mile-long road, lots of cities got famous in China, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and so on. You can still travel much of the route today, thanks to a number of tour operators who help bring history to life. Her’s the top cities to explore:

Shiraz, Iran

Shiraz is the cultural capital of Iran and the top must-see of travelers. Thanks to the beautiful pink musque-Nasir ol molk mosque-, dreamy gardens-like Eram garden- and the tombs of Iranian poems-Hafez and Sa’di-, traveling to Shiraz is like a journey back in time to the most beautiful places of the eras. In addition, Walking through the ancient Vakil Bazaar still gives you that ‘Silk Road feeling’.


Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Samarkand is the most popular destination in Uzbekistan and one of the most iconic stops on the Silk Route. Much like the time-worn ruins of Athens or Rome, the mosaic-covered masterpieces of ancient Samarkand stand like misplaced islands amidst the urban sprawl of a modern city; glimmering peaks of turquoise and rustic terracotta ravaged by man, eaten away by time and now restored to its former splendour.
Today you can admire numerous monuments from that period. The most important is, of course, Registan, a complex of three madrases – the oldest one completed in 1420. The architecture and decorations are stunning and will surely take your breath away. Be sure to visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds. While you’re there, don’t skip Gur-e-Amir, the mausoleum dedicated to the conqueror of Central Asia, Amir Timur (known also as Tamerlane).

Istanbul, Turkey

It is common to think that the western terminus of the Silk Road was Rome in Italy. However, whilst Rome was indeed an important destination for Chinese silk during the first two or three centuries of the Silk Road (perhaps until 200 AD), from the 4th century onwards, the “Rome” to which all roads led in the Mediterranean world was “Eastern Rome” or Constantinople. Even in its long centuries of decline down to its conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the wealth of Constantinople was legendary, and its location ensured it a very important role in the trade with the East. Renamed Istanbul under the Turks, the city again became the capital of a great empire and played a central role in east-west cultural and economic exchange.
Almost everything you see in Turkey’s capital today has some connection to that time of great financial and intellectual prosperity, when the city profited from its prime location on the cusp of two continents. Christianity emanated from the cloisters of the 6th century Hagia Sophia and started its march east with Constantinople as its origin point. The Bosphorus Straight took on its persona as a lively hub for sea trade.

Tbilisi, Georgia

Georgia has always enjoyed a position at the geographic and conceptual crossroads of Europe and Asia, but it wasn’t until relatively late – around the 6th century – that Tbilisi became a fixture on the Silk Road.

This sprawling city of 1.1 million is as eclectic as it is dynamic. The Old Town — also called Kala — with its traditional pastel houses and wooden balconies, flows seamlessly into the Art Nouveau neighborhood of Sololaki, where every ezo (courtyard) seems to reveal a new speakeasy bar or tucked-away café. You can spend the day hitting the museums and theaters housed in the impressive neoclassical architecture along Rustaveli Avenue, or spend your nights dancing until dawn at powerhouse nightclubs like Bassiani, located underneath a historic soccer stadium. While the city is small enough to be covered in a weekend, its architectural eclecticism, thriving restaurant and bar scene, and wealth of cultural offerings make it worth a much longer stay.

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