Photo Trip Along the Ancient Silk Road

After proposing "The Belt and Road Initiative" by China in 2013, China has aimed to build trade and enhance mutual friendship connecting Asia with Europe and Africa on and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes.

In the nineteenth century, a new type of traveller ventured onto the Silk Roads --- geographers, archaeologists and enthusiastic explores looking for adventure. The ancient Silk Road helped to integrated the old Chinese, Indian, Persian, Arabian, ancient Greek and Roman cultures and promoted the exchange of the Western and Oriental civilizations. Half of the Silk Road, which winded along between Xi'an to the east bank of the Mediterranean, was located in Xinjiang. Xinjiang was the place where the ancient Western and Oriental cultures met and many famous historical people visited.

Here bellow are some photos that invite viewers to come along through the Gansu sand dunes, past the Aksu highway, Mountains valley, the "mother of cities" and other ancient or modern artifacts and many spectacular sites along the main branches of this ancient trade route.


1. A view of the ruins of the ancient city of Jiaohe, seen at sunset on March 7, 2007 in Turpan, China. Jiaohe, built on a 98-foot-high loess plateau over 2,300 years ago, lies in the Yarnaz Valley and is protected by the natural fortification of the precipitous cliffs. The city has been a major passageway for communication between the East and West since the Han Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, and an important section of the ancient Silk Road.


Photo by China Photos / Getty

2. A solar eclipse, called 'Rishi', meaning 'eaten sun' in Chinese, can be seen above visitors at the Jiayuguan Fort on the Great Wall of China in the town of Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, on August 1, 2008.


Photo by David Gray / Reuters

3. A southern branch of the Silk Road took travelers through Yazd, Iran, home to a large community of Zoroastrians. The Towers of Silence were used by early Zoroastrians as a site for a sky burial tradition. Photographed near Yazd on January 29, 2009.


Photo by Matjaz Krivic / Getty

4. Tourists climb the Singing Sand Dunes near the Crescent Moon Spring on July 20, 2010 in Jiuquan, Gansu Province, China.


Photo by Feng Li / Getty

5. Afghan children play in the old part of the northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif in Balkh province on March 27, 2012. Once known as the "mother of cities", the ancient city of Balkh was a popular destination along the ancient Silk Road. Balkh was destroyed by Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan during his rule, and the city's ruins remain a tourist attraction today.


Photo by Farshad Usyan / AFP / Getty

6. The ruins of the Afghan city of Shahr-e Zuhak, the Red City, stand in a valley on the outskirts of Bamiyan city, Afghanistan, on July 20, 2012.


Photo by Massoud Hossaini / AFP / Getty

7. Travelers heading west from Xi'an would first pass through Gansu Province. Here, a sandstorm hits the town of Shandan in Zhangye, Gansu Province, China, on March 5, 2013.


Photo by AFP / Getty

8. Part of the Great Wall of China, built during the Ming Dynasty in Jiayuguan City, Gansu Province, photographed on July 4, 2013. Although the paths and roads here were used for centuries, these fortifications were built after the boom times of the Silk Road.


Photo by SA Zhu Yihan

9. A northern branch of the Silk Road would have taken travelers through southern Kazakhstan. Here, a farmer's yurt, or traditional nomad felt tent, is seen in front of a Soviet-era observatory on the mountainous Assy Plateau, about 2,500 meters (8,202 feet) above sea level, 56 miles (90 km) east of Almaty, Kazakhstan, on August 1, 2013.


Photo by Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters

10. A section of highway in Aksu Prefecture, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, photographed on May 18, 2014.


Photo by Liuzusai

11. An Afghan child dries silk threads in a traditional factory in Zandajan district of Herat province, Afghanistan, on June 1, 2014.


Photo by Aref Karimi / AFP / Getty

12. A bird flies over a blossoming poppy field against the backdrop of a city and the Tien Shan mountains at outskirts of Almaty, Kazakhstan, on May 14, 2015.


Photo by Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters

13. Tupopdan Peak, 20,033 feet (6,106 meters), also known as "Passu Cathedral", just north of Gulmit village in the Hunza Valley region of Pakistan, photographed on July 28, 2015. The picturesque valley was one of several important passes along the ancient Silk Road, situated between China's western Xinjiang region and Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor.


Photo by SA Shahid Mehmood

14. Caves in the Flaming Mountains valley, photographed on September 17, 2015, in Tuyoq Valley in Turpan, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China. The area is dotted with grottoes and caverns that served many purposes over the centuries. They were used as rest stops, Buddhist temples, and even small villages.


Photo by SA Zossolino

15. The old citadel of Arg-e Bam in Kerman province, Bam, Iran, on January 2, 2016. This Silk Road citadel stood at an oasis and a crossroads, serving as a place of rest, a market, and a point of defense.


Photo by Eric Lafforgue / Art in All of Us / Corbis via Getty

16. A view of Osh, the second-largest city in Kyrgyzstan, seen from nearby Sulayman Mountain, on March 26, 2016. Osh was once a major marketplace along the Silk Road, and was considered the midpoint on the route.


Photo by A.Savin / Wikimedia Commons

17. Part of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, after government troops recaptured the UNESCO world heritage site from ISIS jihadists on March 27, 2016. Palmyra was an ancient caravan city, its wealth and fortunes strongly linked to the steady flow of Silk Road travelers coming and going.


Photo by Maher Al Mounes / AFP / Getty

18. Camels run during a mapping exercise ahead of the 2016 Silk Way Rally race in the Gobi Desert on April 20, 2016.


Photo by Nicolas Asfouri / AFP / Getty

19. A tourist stands at the edge of the Singing Sand Dunes. Here, a large 495 foot (150 meter) dune which is famous for the noises it produces, in Altyn-Emel National Park in Kazakhstan's Almaty region, on May 12, 2016.


Photo by Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters

20. Towers of ancient city walls in Xi'an, China, photographed on June 18, 2016. Xi'an (formerly known as Chang’an, and once an imperial capital city) was the eastern departure point for the Silk Road—a hub for traders in China's central Shaanxi Province. These city walls were largely built after the Silk Road had fallen into disuse, after 1500 A.D.


Photo by SA Aaron Zhu

21. An Afghan man rides a horse overlooking Band-e-Amir Lake, in the first national park in Afghanistan in the central province of Bamiyan, on November 5, 2016. Bamiyan stands in a deep green and lush valley stretching 100 kilometers through central Afghanistan, on the former Silk Road.


Photo by Wakil Kohsar / AFP / Getty

22. Flag-festooned poles stand over a grave in a cemetery surrounding the tomb of Imam Asim in the Taklamakan Desert outside the village of Jiya near Hotan, Xinjiang, China, on March 21, 2017.


Photo by Thomas Peter / Reuters

23. A Chinese pagoda towers over the old town in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, on March 23, 2017.


Photo by Thomas Peter / Reuters

24. Ancient columns stand at the Al-Mina archaeological site, South Governorate, Tyre, Lebanon, on May 3, 2017. Tyre, on the Mediterranean Sea, served as one of several ports at the western end of the Silk Road. Traders, having reached this point, might unload their goods onto a waiting ship, or board the vessel themselves to continue westward—or, turn around and head back toward Xi'an once again, more than 4,000 miles away, as the crow flies.


Photo by Eric Lafforgue / Art In All Of Us / Corbis via Getty

25. The old town of Kashgar, in the far western Xinjiang province, China, on June 27, 2017. Kashgar has long been considered the cultural heart of Xinjiang for the province's nearly 10 million Muslim Uighurs. At an historic crossroads linking China to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, the city has changed under Chinese rule with government development, unofficial Han Chinese settlement to the western province, and restrictions imposed by the Communist Party. Beijing says it regards Kashgar's development as an improvement to the local economy, but many Uighurs consider it a threat that is eroding their language, traditions, and cultural identity. The friction has fueled a separatist movement that has sometimes turned violent, triggering a crackdown on what China's government considers 'terrorist acts' by religious extremists.


Photo by Kevin Frayer / Getty


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