For two thousand years the Silk Road was a thoroughfare for the transmission of merchandise, knowledge and religions. It started from Changan (the present Xian), crossed Western Asia and reached Africa and Europe, connecting ancient China to the Roman Empire in the Western world. In the late 1800s a German geologist Richthofen named the route Silk Road, reflecting its primary use at the time. With centuries of development the Silk Road, exemplifying exchanges between civilizations and natural sights, has attracted countless visitors.
Route of the Silk Road
The Silk Road traverses Eurasia, its many deserts, including the Gobi, and its snow-covered mountains. In ancient times, people had to travel with caravans and escorts to ensure their security. Fortunately there were oasis and towns providing temporary shelters.
Stretching about 7,000 km (4,350 miles) totally and 4,000 km (2,486 miles) in China, this intercontinental passageway started from the ancient capital of the Western Han Dynasty, along the Hexi Corridor in present Gansu Province, passed through Dunhuang, Yumenguan and Yangguan, and led the way to the 'western region' (near today's Xinjiang). The flourishing Loulan area had been the connection point for two branches. One way running north across Korla, Kucha, Aksu, Kashgar, Parmir, central Asia, and Iran, reached the eastern Roman Empire (Alexandria in Egypt) The other branch extending to the south along the north of the Kunlun Range, traversed Charkhlik, Cherchen, Hetian, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, to the Persian Gulf.
In its history the Silk Road route varied. With the alterations of geographical, political, and religious conditions, new passages were developed; some altered and some abandoned.
Qinghai Province: Ta'er Temple, Qutan Temple, Mengda Nature Reserve……
Tianshui: Dadiwan remains, Fuxi Temple, Liguang Tomb, Maiji Mountain Grottoes, Mt. Kongdongshan; Dingxi: Lianhua Mountain Nature Reserve;
Pingliang: Kongtong Mountain, Yunyasi National Forest Park;
Lanzhou: Bingling Temple, Gansu Provincial Museum, Five Spring Mountain Park;
Wuwei: Dayun Temple and Bell Tower, Haizang Temple, Kumarajiva Pagoda, Leitai Han Tomb;
Zhangye: Giant Buddha Temple, Horse's Hoof monastery, Wooden Pagoda, Zhenyuan Tower;
Jiayuguan: Jiayuguan Pass, Overhanging Great Wall;
Dunhuang: Mogao Caves, Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves, White Horse Dagoba, Crescent Lake, Echoing-sand Mountain;
Jiuquan: Bell and Drum Tower, Jiuquan Yuan, The Wenshushan Caves, Murals of the Eastern Jin Dynasty
Linxia: Nanguan Mosque, Wan Shou Temple
Xiahe: Lanbrang Monastery
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
Hami: Gai Si's Tomb, Lafuqueke, The Hami Cultural Office Museum, Tombs of The Hami Kings, Wupu
Urumqi: Heavenly Lake, Red Hill, Southern Pastures, Xinjiang Regional Museum
Shihezi: Karakul Lake, North Lake, Army Reclamation Culture
Ruoqiang: Arjin Mountain Nature Reserve, Jingyu Lake (Whale ake), Ancient City of Milan
Turpan: Ancient City of Gaochang, Astana-Karakhoja Ancient Tombs, Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Ancient City of Jiaohe
Korla: Bayanbulak Grassland, Ancient City of Loulan, Tiemen Pass, Lop Nur, Yadan Spectacle
Kucha: Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves, Kucha Mosque, Kumtura Caves
Akesu: The Grand Kuqa Mosque, The Tarim River, The Mystic Grand Canyon of the Tianshan Mountains, The kizil Thousand Buddha Caves
Hetian (Hotan): Ancient City of Malikawate, Ancient City of Niya, Ancient City of Yotkan, Hetian District Museum, Silk and Mulberry Research Center, Walnut King
Kashgar: Abakh Khoja Tomb, Bazaar, Id Kah Mosque, Karakuri Lake, Three Immortals Buddhist Caves
The Karakoram Highway: Khunherab Pass