What are the "Silk Roads?"

The Silk Roads were a group of trade routes that connected China and Europe from 300 B.C. to 1500 A.D.. Over 8,000 kilometers of road extended from Asia to the Mediterranean Sea. These routes traversed both land and sea, and ran in all directions. Many routes sought the highly prized silk from China. During this time, silk was a precious commodity valued by men and women worldwide because of its rarity, beauty, and unique tactile quality.

The Concept of the "Silk Road"

The Silk Road cannot simply be treated as a network of transportation routes. It was also a conscious concept of interaction that illustrates the way that commodities, empires, religions, and even music, have traveled throughout Eurasia for thousands of years. The Silk Road was a connecting concept over the "West" and "East" divide, providing an ongoing historical exchange of human experience, The Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative

Where is the Silk Road?

The Silk Road can be divided into three major sections based on geography and commerce:

  • an eastern section beginning in Chang'an, China, and running along the northern and southern borders of the Taklamakan Desert to the Pamir Mountains
  • a Central Asian section crossing the Pamirs and the Central Asian region of Samarkand
  • a western section that runs through Persia to the Mediterranean.

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Center for East Asian Studies

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Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies

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Phone: 785-864-4236
Website: Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies


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