Silk Road: General Information, History, Map
Map of Great Silk Road contains many routes
(click to enlarge)
Great Silk Road
During the 6-14th century, there were thousands of large and small routes that crossed Asian Continent leading to the West. Caravans followed these routes and each was filled with exotic clothes, eastern goods and spices. These routes raised the Great Silk Road. Along Great Silk Road towns, cities and caravanserai were created. Hence the various centers for national crafts, art schools, madrasahs, palaces and mausoleums. Traders, missionaries and refuges were travelling together bringing along new religions, customs, products like glass, porcelain, soap and gunpowder and most important a different culture. They were the ones who created herbariums, collected methods of curing diseases and studied the stars. In many ways, for more than thousands of years Great Silk Road linked many countries and its people by means of peaceful activities such as trade, culture and spiritual exchanges that is unique to all mankind. The Great Silk Road routes started from a town called Lanchjou and stretched to cities of Tor and Sodom, both Mediterranean ports which acted as a junction between the East and West. This old East-West trading trail transplanted culture, customs and religious from one center to the next and vice-versa. Again, the Great Silk Road will be re-opened to tourists, magnificent architectural monuments, unique works of calligraphy, silks, rugs and pottery produced by ancient craftsmen in our fascinating tours.
Fascinating History of Silk Road
History of Silk Road is fascinating and full of military conquest, fearless explorers, religious pilgrims and great thinkers, along with the humble tradesmen who risked life and limb for profit as they led their loaded caravans across dangerous deserts, mountains and steppes. In the history of Great Silk Road there are such figures as Alexander the Great, Marco Polo, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane were all familiar with Silk Road which was established by 100DC. It lasted until 15th century when newly-discovered sea routes to Asia opened up.
Great Silk Road: Luxury Trade
The story of silk trade is very cognitive. Silk was, of course, why the great route was established in the first place. According to the Chinese, silk was discovered one day when a queen accidently dropped a silkworm cocoon into her hot cup of tea, and as she plucked it out, unravelled a shiny, silken thread. Woven into fabric and sent west, silk soon became the most demended and expensive textile in Rome. Some historians claim the Romans' profligated thier spendings on silk which played its rall in fall of their empire, while their rivals to the east grew rich on the silk trade. Many around the Mediterranean, priests and potentates, including Cleopatra, dressed themselves in silk, especially that kind which had been colored in purple made of mollusc shells.
More Than Silk
There are many other luxury goods besides silk that were transported along Silk Road. Heading west were porcelain, furs, spices, gems and other exotic products of Asia. Chinese inventions like gunpowder and paper first travelled to Europe along Silk Road with many other products. Being shipped east were cosmetics, silver, gold, amber, ivory, carpets, perfume and ceramics from Europe, Central Asia, Arabia and Africa.
A Road of Ideas
As merchants and other travellers traversed Silk Road, they also carried culture, art, philosophies and beliefs with them. Buddhism came to China on The Silk Road and Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Confucianism all had their itinerant proselytiser. Goods and ideas were exchanged in cities with exotic names like Antioch, Babylon, Erzerum, Hamadn, Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva, Kashgar and Xian, as well as in dozens of others whose names are now lost in time. However, many remain and travellers again have the chance to visit these sites, relive the legends and capture some of the magic.