the Han Dynasty -206 BC to AD 220 in China, many new political contracts
were set up in the kingdoms of Central Asia, which lead to opening up a
great East-West trade route. In the 1870s a German Geographer, Ferdinand von
Richthofen, addressed the route by a new name called as The Silk Road,
since then it is being known by this name.
The traditional Silk Road developed as a link between east and west,
promoting the exchange of cultural heritage and the development of economic,
especially those regions nestling along the route.
The worlds four major cultural centers were connected by this Silk
Road -Greek and Roman culture, Arabic Culture, Indian Cultural and Chinese
When the Silk Road came into being, silk was not only the chief commodity
that was being traded. It was only after the Romans start liking the silk
from core of their heart and turned to be the die-hard silk lovers, the
business flourished in the country. Romans just adored the silk in any form,
they even exchanged silk for its weight in gold. During the Tang dynasty,
almost 30 percent of the trade on the Silk Road was comprised of silk.
Main Route of the Silk Road
Xian- the imposing capital city of Changan, was the gateway for the Silk
Route during the Han-dynasty.
The Silk Roads was divided into the 3 main routes.
The southern route ran towards the west, along the northern foot of Kunlun
Mountains en-routing Charkhilk, Cherchen, Minfeng, and Hetian.
Kashgar-- another highlighted point on the Silk Road, from there the route
continues to India, passing through Afghanistan and Russian Central Asia and
finally reach the Mediterranean Coast.
The central route continues along the Tianshan Mountains and finally
reached to Mari in Russia. The northern route extends along the Tianshan
Mountains, reaches the Ili River Valley and ends in the area near the Black
The three routes of the Silk Road ran between mountain ranges and long
edges of deserts, passing through oases inhabited by ancient tribes.
Silk Road facilitated China to develop relation with the West during the
2nd century BC and the 10th century AD. Although sections of the Silk Road
have been buried by sand in deserts, the local dry climate has incredibly
preserved sites and residues of many centuries.
Best Time for a Tour
The summer months are severely hot whereas winter months are freezing cold.
Therefore, the months of May and October are the best time to travel the
Silk Road. During May the average temperature along the route is around 15C.
The scenery is most beautiful during May, the snow starts melting and the
grass turns green. Travelers can enjoy this engaging vista with pleasant
Eating joints Along the Silk Road
On the Silk Road towards the northwest China, travelers can enjoy the
Islamic delicacies, as the area has a strong influence of Muslims. There is
also equal scope for the traditional Chinese food for the visitors who love
the Chinese Cuisine. There are ample number of restaurants thronging on the
either side of the route, specializing in Sichuan, Cantonese and Beijing or
In every city along the Silk Route, night markets (ye shi) and small
restaurants (xiao chi) are the best places to taste local snacks.
The Silk Road extends to most parts of China, covering the modern cities of
central China as well as the isolated villages and towns in the remote west.
Accommodations along the route range from modern luxurious hotels to simple
guesthouse. The cities like Dunhuang, Turpan, Kashgar, Urumqi, Lanzhou,
offers luxury hotels like Jiudian, to its visitors.
Tourist interested in low budget accommodation, then there are "Zhaodaisuo"
(Guesthouse). They provide with simpler facilities and basic service, more
preferred by the Chinese travelers.