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Other titles in the Silk Roads: A Route & Planning Guide series:
The Silk Roads (Silk Roads: A Route & Planning Guide)
For many people the Silk Road conjures up images of caravans of baggage-laden camels ploughing a dusty path across Asia. As the title of this guide suggests, however, the route was never a single superhighway rather a series of smaller trade paths which, once united, formed an intricate network between the Mediterranean and the Orient. For over one thousand years it was the most important and best-known trade route in the world, transporting not just silk but all manner of exotic goods such as jade, gunpowder and rhubarb. Just as importantly, this increase in interaction brought about the spread of many of the ideas and beliefs that have formed the basis of civilization, from the wheel to the great religions of Buddhism, Islam and Christianity.
The Silk Roads tie together some of the most fantastic and romantic attractions in Asia and nearly all the sights which made the routes famous have been preserved. From the mosques of Damascus and the archaeological wonders of Palmyra, the routes wound their way past the standing stones of Nemrut Dagi, skirted Persias extravagant palaces, trod the Golden Road to Samarkand and joined up with the Great Wall of China. The list goes on and on.
Following the collapse of the Mongol empire, however, and advances in sea travel, the land routes slipped into neglect and obscurity. It was only in the early 1990s, following the collapse of the old USSR, that unrestricted travel to Central Asia became viable.
Thus, despite September 11th and the war in Iraq, all the countries included in this guide are accessible as never before. We have suggested a series of routes and itineraries in each region to take in as many of the old Silk Roads as possible, making it a unique opportunity to witness the marvels that Asia has to offer before coachloads of the less adventurous arrive.
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