The Silk Road
The Silk Road was a famous trade passageway in ancient times, going across Asia to Europe. It started at Changan (present-day Xia’n) in the east and ran for 7,000 kilometers through China’s Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai and Xinjiang, over the Congling Range (present-day Pamir) and across part of the Commonwealth of Independent States in central Asia , Afghannistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria before it reached the east coast of Mediterranean. The section in China is over 4,000 kilometers long , more than half of the total length.
The 2,000-year-old Silk Road has demonstrated a lasting charm through the centuries. Today it still attracts thousands of tourists from across the world with its rich historic sites, cultural relics, beautiful scenery and colorful folklore. In the past the camel was a major means of transportation. Today tourists can travel along the route in more efficient and comfortable ways-by air , rail and land.
The Chinese section boasts numerous historic sites and cultural relics, which include the terracotta army of China’s first emperor of the Qin Dynasty, Famen Temple, which still keeps bone fragments of Buddha, Mogao and Maijishan Grottoes, Jiayu Pass of the Great Wall, the signal towers from the Han Dynasty, famous Ta’er Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism and the ruins of Gaochang , once a strategic town on the Silk Road.
Scenery along the route is picturesque and magnificent-the Bird Island of Qinghai Lake, Swan Nature Reserve in the Bayanbulak Grassland, Heavenly Lake in the Tianshan Mountains, Salt Lake of Qinghai, wind corroded terrain of Lopnur, Turpan’s Flaming Mountain, the Ghost City of Karamay and many others that you care to name.
Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai and Xinjiang along the route of the Silk Road are inhabited by many Chinese ethnic groups. They differ in historic background, cultural tradition, religion and way of life, But they are all known for their hospitality and gift for singing and dancing. Tourists can experience folk customs, , enjoy singing and dancing, attend festive seddings and holiday celebrations, and shop for local arts and crafts in different ethnic communities.
The Silk Road tours have been developed for over a decade as a main tourist product in northwestern China. Meanwhile, infrastructure has improved along the way. Today the road has become one of the most attractive tourist products in China. This brochure highlights both traditional sightseeing products and newly developed special interest products, such as desert adventrue, scientific survey, and ecological and sports tours, to meet the needs of tourists of different interest.