Dictionary of Geotourism

2020 Edition
| Editors: Anze Chen, Young Ng, Erkuang Zhang, Mingzhong Tian

Silk Road

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2538-0_2250

The Silk Road refers to the land route explored by Zhangqian in his expedition to the western regions during the Western Han Dynasty (202 B.C. to 8 A.D.) from Chang’an (now Xi’an), through Gansu, Xinjiang, to Central Asia, Western Asia, and ultimately the Mediterranean countries. This route was given the name Silk Road (also known as the ‘Northwestern Silk Road’) because silk products were the main commodities transported to the west. There were three basic routes during the Western Han and Eastern Han periods: Southern Route, Middle Route and Northern Route. There was also a maritime Silk Road, which facilitated communication with southeast Asia, southern Asia, western Asia, Europe and Africa from the sea. This sea route started in Yuanding Year 4 of Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty (113 B.C.). The earliest port of departure was today’s Hepu Port in Beihai, Guangxi Province, and other departure ports were developed later, such as Guangzhou (during the Jin Dynasty) and Quanzhou (during...

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