The Great Silk Road History The Great Silk Road

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The Great Silk Road History

The Great Silk Road History

The Great Silk Road is a unique phenomenon in the history of mankind, with its aspiration for unity and cultural values exchange, its conquests of lands and monopolization of the markets. They say in the orient, “A sitting man is like a mat, a walking man is like a river”. Life is motion, and traveling, perceiving of outer world have always been the driving force for progress.

This most important in the human history transcontinental trade route, that linked Europe and Asia, in the bygone days stretched from antique Rome to Nary, the ancient capital of Japan. Evidently the trade between the East and the West was conducted from the time immemorial, but several separate land tracks of what later became known as the Great Silk Road were used. The emergence of trade relations was much challenged by the exploitation in the mountains of Central Asia of semi-precious stones deposits – lapis lazuli, jade, cornelian, turquoise. These stones were highly valued in the East. Thus there existed a "lazurite" road, along which lapis lazuli was delivered from Central Asia to Iran, Mesopotamia and even Egypt. Concurrently, there developed a "jade" road which linked Khotan and Yarkend with the regions of Northern China. Besides, to the countries of eastern Mediterranean the ancient merchants delivered cornelian from Sogdiana and Bactria, and turquoise from Khorezm. All these routes finally formed the Great Silk Road.
The area along the caravan trails in Central Asia has been a hotly contested region. Already in the middle of the first millennium B.C. the Persian rulers levied tributes on their vassal territories in Sogdiana and Bactria. The troops of Alexander the Great were the first to open the route from Europe to Asia in the 4th century B.C. Together with the warriors there moved eastwards the merchants who transported various goods to the remote lands and who brought back to their native countries a great deal of wonderful things. From Asia Minor and Arabia to the banks of the Yangtze the vast territory was intersected by trade routes along which there sprang up, prospered and went into a decline or vanished under the attacks of stronger conquerors many kingdoms and states. But trade caravans kept laying new routes.

In the 1st-2nd centuries B.C. Roman senators and noblemen preferred to wear silk togas. So it was no wonder that Sogdian enterprising merchants established several trading posts along the roads heading toward China - in
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