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Time-honored paths of cultural exchanges [Copy link] 中文

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The second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) will be held later this month in Beijing, but the ancient Silk Road that inspired the 21st-century Chinese proposal - the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) - goes back thousands of years.

And archeological relics found throughout the Belt and Road region are proof of the cultural exchanges and economic ties that had already bound Asia and Europe centuries ago.


Cultural exchanges in the desert

The ancient Silk Road actually does not refer to one single road, but rather to a road network that threaded across eastern, central and western Asia all the way to the Mediterranean.

Just like the modern-day Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, there were two general paths: By land and by sea.



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At one of the key crossroads lies Dunhuang, which boasts bountiful cultural relics that demonstrate the ancient trade and cultural communications along the Silk Road.

Among its well-known sites are the Mogao Caves, which feature frescoes depicting traveling merchants, cargo being transported on horse- and camel-back, and other commercial activities. The costumes and social lives of the people along the Silk Road are also reflected in the paintings.

Zhang's mission was to build an alliance with Yuezhi, a people based around what is now China's Gansu Province and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, against the Xiongnu, a nation with great military power that frequently invaded and harassed states in the region.

Zhang's dangerous journey lasted 13 years, but his route was marked and later traveled by more people in the area, and the Silk Road was thus formed.

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Post time 2019-4-18 13:37:41 |Display all floors
From cultural relics and historical sites like these, it is clear that the Belt and Road is not just a theoretical concept. The ancient Silk Road connected East and West for centuries and still functions today as a bridge, not only for the economy, but also for cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

(Cover: Glazed and Painted pottery camel with cargo (Tang Dynasty, 664 A.D). Camel is the major means of transportation for the merchants from foreign nomadic tribes travelling to China's northwest along the Silk Road.)

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