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The Silk Road

The Silk Road — the historic trade routes stretching nearly 7,000 miles across Eurasia from the China Sea in the east to the Mediterranean in the west. Interweaving across continents and oceans, conduits for the exchange of ideas, art, and trade for thousands of years. In a joyful convergence of ancient and influential cultures, the Festival of the Silk Road brings together an inspired roster of dance and musical artists to celebrate here in the Bay Area. From traditional to contemporary, the Festival creates a gathering point for exchange and creativity, a place to share our hopes, and embrace the commonalities and differences that shape our world. In an addition to a geographic or historical concept we can also view the Silk Road as a metaphor, for meeting in community celebration, exchanging ideas, art and inspiration with people of all cultural backgrounds.

As Yoyo Ma has said so beautifully when speaking of the Silk Road; "Resources, information and innovations were exchanged between so many cultures over so many hundreds of years that it is now often difficult to identify the origins of numerous traditions that our respective cultures take for granted. In this way, the Silk Road created an intercontinental think tank of human ingenuity".

From Wikipedia - Silk Road: (read more....)
The Silk Road or Silk Route is a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa. The Silk Road includes routes through Syria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and China.  The Silk Road gets its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade which was carried out along its length, and began during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). The central Asian sections of the trade routes were expanded around 114 BC by the Han dynasty, largely through the missions and explorations of Zhang Qian, but earlier trade routes across the continents already existed.

Trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the civilizations of China, the Indian subcontinent, Persia, Europe and Arabia. Though silk was certainly the major trade item from China, many other goods were traded, and various technologies, religions and philosophies, as well as the bubonic plague (the "Black Death"), also traveled along the Silk Routes.

The main traders during Antiquity were the Indian and Bactrian traders, then from the 5th to the 8th century the Sogdian traders, then afterward the Arab and Persian traders.


Map of the Silk Road
Overview map of the historic Silk Road trade systems - overland and sea routes.