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kanan budhiraja Sep 10 2015

Tell me about the Silk Road

Kanika Nevatia Sep 10 2015
1 person found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

The Silk Route, which was later named the Silk Road is an international trade route connecting China to the mediterranean (via India). Backed by great historic importance, the route is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

NASA - Visible Earth, images combined and scaled down by HighInBC


Stretching over 10,000 km of land and water, the route got its name because of its use to mainly carry out silk trade between China and other countries such as Persia, India, Arabia, Somalia and Egypt. Not only did this route help in trade but it also brought about a great amount of cultural exchange between China, Persia, India, Rome and Greece.

The Silk Route came into existence during the reign of the Western Han Dynasty of China, growing up into its fully evolved form during the Han Dynasty. The coming in of the Tang Dynasty marked the onset of widespread economic and social growth taking this trade route (both land and maritime) to newfound heights of prosperity. It wasn’t until after the Yuan Dynasty that the downfall of this trade route began.


The Route

Initially the road originated from the historical capital of Chang'an in China, which is present day Xian. It ran through the Gansu Province and Dunhuang along the Hexi Corridor. The routes were further divided into a Southern and Central trail, with the Southern reaching Europe through Islamabad, Kabul, Mashhad, Baghdad and Damascus and the central reaching areas near the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

Out of its total length, about 3,000 km of this route exists in China itself. This route has contributed greatly to economic and cultural exchange between Central Asia, China, West Asia, India, Rome and other parts of Europe.

Part of the Silk Road in Sikkim

Silk Road and India

The Silk Road held a great significance to the Indian trade scene as well, with about 12 important cities falling on the route. These cities are spread across eight Indian states, namely--Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Pondicherry, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim.

One of the main contributions of this trade route is the spread of Buddhism in India. Another significant impact was the spread of spices trade from India to Europe, especially Rome, thus strengthening relations with the West. Also, a lot of the raw silk that came in from China was converted into beautiful fabric in India and passed on further to European countries.

Silk fabric, woven in India

Though the the significance of the Silk Road has declined over the years, there are discussions to revive the functioning of this route in accordance with modern day infrastructure. India too is considering coming on board this trade, all over again!
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