Route of Silk Road
|Silk Road Route Map (Click to enlarge)|
The Silk Road was originally opened up by Zhang Qian and it gradually formed in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).
In the Han Dynasty, the ancient road originated from the historical capital of Chang'an (now Xi'an). This China trade route ran through Gansu Province via Tianshui, Lanzhou, Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiuquan, Jiayuguan (an important military garrison and barrier of the Great Wall) and Dunhuang along the Hexi Corridor. Dunhuang is famous for its Mogao Caves and other cultural relics. It was also a key point of the route, where the trade road divided into three main branches: the southern, the central and the northern.
The three main routes spread all over the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The Southern Route wandered west along the northern foot of the Kunlun Mountains, passing Ruoqiang (Charkhlik), Qiemo (Cherchen), Hetian, Yecheng (Karghalik), Shache (Yarkand) and reached Kashgar (the last point of the Silk Road in China). Then this route crossed the snow-covered Pamirs, reached Pakistan and India via Kashmir; it could also reach Europe through Islamabad, Kabul, Mashhad, Baghdad and Damascus.
|Statue of Travelling along the Ancient Road|
The Central Route ran west along the southern foot of Tianshan Mountains, passing Loulan (now Ruoqiang), Turpan , Korla, Kuche (Kuqa), Aksu and Kashgar, afterwards went over the freezing Pamirs, wound to Mashhad via the Fergana Basin, Samarkand, Bukhara and finally joined the Southern Route.
The Northern Route went west along the northern foot of Tianshan Mountains, taking merchants westwards to Hami (Kumul), Urumqi and Yining, and then reached the areas near the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
According to some experts, the total length of the historically important trade route is about 10,000 kilometers (6,214 miles), among which approximately 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) of the route are inside China's territory. Nowadays, the immemorial Silk Road spreads over the five provinces in the Northwest Territories including Shaanxi Province, Gansu Province, Qinghai Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The road made a great contribution to the political, economic and cultural exchange between China and Central Asia, West Asia, India, Roman and Europe.
Maritime Silk Route Southern Silk Road
Nowadays, the ancient road is still catching the attention of the world with its large number of historical and cultural sites, splendid natural scenery and colorful ethnic customs. Benefiting from the increasingly convenient transportation network, travelers can travel along this route more easily than before. Pack up and get a taste of the ancient oriental culture by taking one of the China routes below.
China Delights: 10-Day Beijing - Xi'an - Guilin - Shanghai from $1249 Up
Classical Silk Road: 14-Day Beijing - Urumqi - Kashgar - Urumqi - Dunhuang - Xi'an - Shanghai from $2929 Up
Silk Road In-depth: 22-Day Beijing - Urumqi - Korla - Kuqa - Aksu - Kashgar - Hetian - Minfeng - Korla - Turpan - Dunhuang - Xi'an - Shanghai from $3519 Up
You need Chinese driving lisence and probably plate number . you need a Kashgar base tour company for this lisence and permit . you have to contact before you arrive , make sure your document prepared before you arrive .
Good luck !
Korla, Aksu, Kashgar, Turpan, Urumqi, Dunhuang and Xian. These are some representative cities along the road. Your route could be Urumqi-Korla-Kuqa-Aksu-Kashgar-Turpan-Dunhuang-Xian. In Urumqi, you may see International Bazaar, Southern Mosque and Xinjiang Regional Museum. Then you may take around 6 hours bus journey to Korla (about 500 kilometers). On the way, you may visit Tiemen Pass. During your journey from Korla to Kuqa, you may visit Subash Ruins. Then you may head for Asku to see Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves. Then you need to drive around 500 meters from Asksu to reach Kashgar. In Kashgar, you may visit Sunday Bazaar and Id Kah Mosque. If you plan to see Hetian, you should drive another 520 kilometers. If you prefer to see the desert, you may take around 3.5 hours journey (300 kilometers) to Minfeng. There you can visit Takla Makan Desert. Afterwards, you can drive back to Korla and get to Turpan. The Ruins of Ancient City of Gaochang and Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves are worth your visit. Also don’t miss Karez systems. Then you can get to Dunhuang from Turpan. Mogao Caves and Dunhuang Museum are highly recommended. And you can visit Echoing-sand Mountain and Crescent Lake. Finally, you get from Dunhuang to Xian, the starting point of Silk Road. Terra cotta warriors and Horses, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, City Wall and Shaanxi Provincial Historical Museum are all worth your visit.