The Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the East and West and stretching from the Korean peninsula and Japan to the Mediterranean Sea.

While the term is of modern coinage, the Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk (and horses) carried out along its length, beginning during the Han dynasty (207 BCE – 220 CE). The Han dynasty expanded Central Asian sections of the trade routes around 114 BCE, largely through missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial envoy, Zhang Qian. The Chinese took great interest in the safety of their trade products and extended the Great Wall of China to ensure the protection of the trade route.

Trade on the Silk Road played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, the Goguryeo kingdom (Korea),Japan,the Subcontinent, Persia, Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations.Though silk was certainly the major trade item exported from China, many other goods were traded, and religions, syncretic philosophies, and various technologies. Diseases, most notably plague, also spread along the Silk Routes. In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was a route for cultural trade among the civilizations along its network.

The main traders during antiquity included Chinese, Arabs, Turkmens, Indians, Persians, Somalis, Greeks,Syrians, Romans, Georgians, Armenians, Bactrians, and (from the 5th to the 8th century) the Sogdians.In June 2014, UNESCO designated the Chang'an-Tianshan corridor of the Silk Road as a World Heritage Site.

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Dunhuang(敦煌): is a county-level city in northwestern Gansu Province, Western China. The 2,000 Chinese census reported a population of 187,578 in this city. Dunhuang was a major stop on the ancient Silk Road and is best known for the nearby Mogao Caves.

Turpan(吐鲁番): is in the east of Xinjiang, it has long been the centre of a fertile oasis (with water provided by thekarez  canal system) and an important trade centre. It was historically located along the Silk Road. The center of the region has shifted a number of times, from Yar-    Khoto (Jiaohe, 10 km to the west of modern Turpan) to Qocho (Gaochang, 30 km to the southeast of Turpan), and to Turpan itself.

Urumqi (乌鲁木齐): is the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, was a major hub on the Silk Road during China's Tang dynasty, and developed its reputation as a leading cultural and commercial center during Qing dynasty in 19th Century

Kashgar(喀什)is an oasis city in Xinjiang and is the westernmost Chinese city is located near the border with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. With a population of over 500,000, Kashgar has a rich history of over 2,000 years and served as a trding post and strategically important city on the Silk Road between China, the Middle East and Europe

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