Silk Road overview

Updated: December 30 2010(GMT+08:00)

The Silk Road has more than 2,000 years of history. It began in Changan (present Xian, Shaanxi Province) in the east and stretched to Rome, Italy in the west. The route crosses Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai provinces, Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions and then passes over the Pamirs. And at Dunhuang it divides in three main routes--the Southern Route, Central Route and Northern Route. The three routes spread all over the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and then they extend as far as Pakistan, India and even Rome. The Silk Routes, also known as Silk Road, were used as important paths for cultural, commercial and technological exchange between traders, merchants and so on. As a result, the Silk Road is a important international trade route between China and the Mediterranean in history.  


What to see along the Silk Road? Because the Silk Road route crosses so many cities and areas, there are so many top attractions to see. For instance, Xian was the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, as a result, Museum of Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses is a bright scenery that you can not miss. Then as the Silk Road passes Lanzhou city, the Gansu province, where Jiayuguan and Dunhuang are top destinations you must go. There are well-known Mogao Caves (Mogao Grottoes) in Dunhuang and Great Wall of Han Dynasty and Great Wall of Ming Dynasty in Gansu, which are attractive parts of Gansu. Then the Silk Road crosses Qinghai where it is divided into three sections expanding into Xinjiang. Lake Tianchi in Urumqi is a top attraction that you must not miss. Bizaklik Thousand-Buddha Caves in Turpan, which attracts a large number of visitors from home and abroad all year round. Besides, ride a camel to cross the Taklamakan Desert to the frontier outpost of Kashgar to feel like walking in the old times.


Travel guide: Traveling along the Silk Road, you will feel the extremes of temperature, especially in Turpan of Xinjiang, the temperature can reach as high as 40°C in summer and can reach down as low as -20°C in winter. The best time to visit the Silk Road is from late spring to early autumn, when is about from May to October with pleasant climate. Remember to bring cold-proof clothing because the temperature differ greatly between day and night. In addition to this, do not forget to bring comfortable shoes for walking and sun cream to protect your skin. About the food along the Silk Road, do not miss the abundant fruits in Xinjiang, especially the sweet grapes. As for the accommodation, there are some small hotels along the route, providing washing room and simple breakfast. Anyway, do not expect too much.

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