- Silk Road
〚from the fact that silk was China's primary export〛ancient trade route extending from China to the Mediterranean
* * *Ancient trade route that linked China with Europe.Originally a caravan route and used from с 100 BC, the 4,000-mi (6,400-km) road started in Xi'an, China, followed the Great Wall to the northwest, climbed the Pamir Mtns., crossed Afghanistan, and went on to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, where goods were taken by boat to Rome. Silk was carried westward, while wool, gold, and silver were carried eastward. With the fall of Rome, the route became unsafe; it was revived under the Mongols, and Marco Polo used it in the 13th century.
* * *also called Silk Routeancient trade route that, linking China with the West, carried goods and ideas between the two great civilizations of Rome and China. Silk came westward, while wools, gold, and silver went east. China also received Nestorian Christianity and Buddhism (from India) via the road.Originating at Xi'an (Sian), the 4,000-mile (6,400-km) road, actually a caravan tract, followed the Great Wall of China to the northwest, bypassed the Takla Makan Desert, climbed the Pamirs (mountains), crossed Afghanistan, and went on to the Levant; from there, the merchandise was shipped across the Mediterranean Sea. Few persons traveled the entire route, and goods were handled in a staggered progression by middlemen.With the gradual loss of Roman territory in Asia and the rise of Arabian power in the Levant, the Silk Road became increasingly unsafe and untraveled. In the 13th and 14th centuries the route was revived under the Mongols, and at that time the Venetian Marco Polo (Polo, Marco) used the road to travel to Cathay (China).The road now partially exists in the form of a paved highway connecting Pakistan and the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang (Sinkiang, Uygur Autonomous Region of), China. The old road has been the impetus behind a United Nations plan for a trans-Asian highway, and a railway counterpart of the road has been proposed by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). The road inspired cellist Yo Yo Ma (Ma, Yo-Yo) to found the Silk Road Project in 1999, which has explored cultural traditions along its route.
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