CHINA - THE SILK ROAD
The Silk Road is the world's oldest, and most historically important overland trade route. For over 2000 years, traders and merchants travelled the deserts of central Asia exchanging goods between the Chinese empire and the rest of the world. As a result, the oases of the desert sprang up into dynamic cities. A vast network of interconnected caravan routes that stretched for over 6,500 klm enabled the exchange of products and ideas between China and the rest of the world. The Silk Road began around 329 BCE, when Alexander the Great conquered the entire known world and promoted trade to the east and got its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade along it. Though silk was certainly the major trade item from China, many other goods were traded, and various technologies, religions and philosophies. The great story of the Silk Road is that Buddhism travelled on it, from India.
The dry climate has preserved many ruins, while many ethnic groups make their home in this part of China. The Ancient Silk Road started at Xian and then it reached Dunhuang, where it divided into three, the Southern, Central and the Northern Route. The pictures in this video start in Xian and cover the northern route. Xian is one of the oldest cities of China with more than 3,100 years of history. It is home to the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. The terracotta warriors, is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210--209 BC and whose purpose was to protect him in his afterlife. Lanzhou is the next stop. 100km SE on the Yellow River, are the Bingling Temple Caves. The first begun around 420 CE at the end of the Western Jin Dynasty. Work continued and more grottoes were added during the Wei, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. Their inaccessibility spared them from destruction during the Cultural Revolution, while an 80-foot Buddha is carved into the cliff. Dunhuang is located between the Taklamakan desert and Gobi desert. Taklamakan is the world's second largest shifting sand desert after Sahara. The Mogao caves, also called Thousand Buddha caves (the first was carved in 366AD) have the best Buddhist murals in the world. In Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region, China's largest province with only 20 million inhabitants, we visit Turpan, Urumqi and Kashgar. Turpan's, "Flaming Mountains", the hottest place in China, overshadow the cradle of the Turpan ancient civilization and oasis agriculture. Here we see the Gaochang city ruins, the former Uyghur capital (1st c BC) and the ancient Buddhist city of GaoHe Kerez (2nd c. BC). Urumqi is the capital of Xinjiang and once an important station on the Silk Road, famous for being a major city furthest from any ocean. Kashgar, or Kashi, is a city with a history of more than 2,000 years. It was historically considered as the gateway and hub for the transfer of goods from China to Central Asia and Europe along the ancient Silk Road. Kashgar preserves the most complete Uygur culture, art and architecture and is famous for its bazaar and animal market. Starting in Beijing, The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, to protect the Chinese Empire against the enemies, while its border controls allowed the imposition of duties of goods transported along the Silk Road. The entire wall with all its branches measure 21,000 klm. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BC. Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China. The city's history dates back three millennia. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political center of the country and is renowned for its palaces, temples, gardens, tombs, walls gates and art treasures.
MUSIC: Traditional Chinese Music "The Blooming of Rainy Night Flowers", "Ode to Coral", Instrumental Uyghur Music (Mining Rewabim), "Beijing Welcomes You" Official Album Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Music copyright is owned by the original artists.