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The Silk Road

The Great Silk Road, such well known in the history books at school, was an extremely important trade way in the whole Asia for 2000 years. Not only the Asian commodity-money relations were developing but also cultural, religious exchange took place, science progressed, people learnt about the other civilizations, and history was made.

Through the hot deserts, rocky mountains, and noisy towns, the caravans of the Silk Road were going from China, crossing Pamir, Fergana, Kazakh steppes, going by Lob-Nor lake, south edge of Takla-Makan desert, Yarkend, Baktria, Parfia, India, going to Turkey and Egypt, right to the Mediterranean sea.

The cities on the Silk Road were especially rich and boisterous. Middle East countries exported horses, arming, gold, silver, precious stones, leather, coat, fleece, carpets, cotton, fruits, sheep, hunt dogs, lions, etc. China exported silk, porcelain, lacquered things, cosmetics, tea, rice, spices, etc.

The Great Silk Road figured prominently in developing economical, cultural connections between Asian countries. It promoted the expansion of technologies and innovations, art development (like music, dances, literature, fine art, architecture), a religious exchange happened (this way Buddhism and Islam came to China). Many technologies and inventions came from China, like making of paper, silk, china, gunpowder, book-printing, and compass.

The famous Silk Road crossed Xinjiang. There it formed 3 routes: northern, central and southern. The southern route starts east from Yangguan Pass, along southern brink of Taklimakan Desert, via Ruoqiang, Hotan and Shache, etc. to Congling; the central route starts from Yumen Pass, along northern brink of Taklimakan Desert, via Lop Nur, Turpan, Yanqi, Kuqa, Aksu and Kashi to Fergana Basin (border area of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan); the northern route starts north from Anxi, via Hami, Jimusar and Yining till to Suyab (in Kyrgyzstan today). Each of them has the cities that preserved the past grandeur and monuments of the Silk Road.

Travelling in any of these routes is an exciting journey in historical places, taking a look at the other culture and the way of life, and the source of new knowledge.

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