Welcome to fromthesilkroad.com
This blog was created for the participants of my faculty workshop at the Midwest Institute for International and Intercultural Education.
It offers firsthand observations based on my research trip to critical points along the Silk Road in China.
My long-planned 2012 Silk Road trip has provided rich material evidence that can help us deepen our understanding of the long and colorful history of international trade along the Silk Road.
The story of the old Silk Road began during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 ACE), when China first opened it up for trade with the West in the 1st century BCE.
I chose the town of Dunhuang (Gansu Province, China) to use in our case study, as it was a nexus of the Silk Road. It was, and still is a precious oasis in the midst of the vast wasteland between the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts. Importantly, it is situated halfway between the trading meccas of Xi’an (Shaanxi Province, China) and Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Xi’an, the famed ancient capital city of China, was considered the most desired cosmopolitan city of the world at the time.
And Sarmakand itself, being the geographic midpoint between Rome and Xi’an, was of particular strategic importance.
The historical Silk Road trade route ran between Xi’an and Rome. It remained active from the 1st century BCE until the end of the 14th century BCE. There are accounts of merchants roaming between hundreds of tribal states, large and small along the ancient Silk Road.
In the end, our analysis of the old Silk Road may give us some insight as we look at the globalization phenomenon of today.
Perhaps we can learn a few lessons from the globalization then for our globalization now.