Silk Road (Silk Route) | An ancient network of routes connecting east to the west
The Silk Road was a network of trade routes which connected the east to the west and made the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions between these regions possible, from the 2nd century BC to the 18th century.
A road for trading and culture exchanges
Being the longest route all around the globe, this route has been created by different societies adjacent to this route through time for economical-commercial purposes. In addition to economical purposes, Silk Road was also a passage for cultural, dialects, and traditions of ancient civilizations which passed through this route.
The reason of the naming
Silk was the main product people traded through this road and China was the center of producing silk since ancient times. This product was one of the most profit-making items imported from the east.
The cities on the Silk Road
Silk Road started from Huang city in China, and continued to Turkestan. The route passed through Central Asia and reached Samarghand and Bokhara. By entering Iran, it passed through the northern part of Iran including Merv, Sarakhs, Nishabour, Gorgan, Baam, Safi Abad, Rey, Qazvin, Zanjan, and north of Hamedan.
Even though the territory of modern Iran is only a part of which it was used to be in the past, but it still has a number of monuments connected with the Silk Road.
The Silk Road during Sassanid Empire
In the Sassanid Empire, one of the largest sources of income was trading on this road and receiving custom charges from traders. Sassanids periodically waged wars with Byzantium in their struggle for domination over the busiest sectors of this route. During this era, Silk Road flourished and Sassanid Empires gained wealth through this trading route. Chinese were the main customers of Persian honey, herbs, carpets, precious stones and textiles. The Silk imported to Iran was so popular at some time that it was accepted as currency, like gold and silver.
The loss of popularity of Silk Road
As the centuries passed by, the use of this ancient road gradually decreased and today, nothing is left from this road.
By the emerging of the new technologies, people started to produce the products that they used to import. Also, as the technologies of transportation progressed, it diminished the popularity of Silk Road. The railway system managed to connect large parts together. In addition, the lack of security, ups and downs in countries policies, wars and bandits were among the reasons why Silk Road was not used anymore.
* Written by Arefeh Firouzan.
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