The Silk Road: An Ancient World of Adventure
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean andEuropean world, as well as parts of North and East Africa. The land routes were supplemented by sea routes which extended from the Red Sea to East Africa, India, China, and Southeast Asia. China traded silk, spices, teas, and porcelain; while India traded ivory, textiles, precious stones, and pepper; and the Roman Empire exported gold, silver, fine glassware, wine, carpets, and jewels. In recent years, both the maritime and overland Silk Routes are again being used, often closely following the ancient routes.
The Silk Roads, an incurably romantic subject which offers a splendid source for secondary school teachers and students alike, linked the civilizations of Eurasia for much of premodern history, starting as early as the second century B.C.E., if not earlier. China, Central Asia, West Asia, and, to a lesser extent, Europe, were placed in touch with each other via the Silk Roads. The economic significance of their contacts in pre-1500 history may have been exaggerated, but their cultural impact can hardly be overstated, and the political influences, particularly during the era of the Mongol empire, have only, of late, received much attention.
For thousands of years, the legendary Silk Road -- traveled by such historical figures as Marco Polo, Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan -- linked Europeans with the vast riches of China, paving the way for a massive exchange of art, religion and culture. Now, the Silk Road comes back to life in this brilliant documentary, the first co-production of China Central TV and the outside world. World-famous musician Kitaro provides the score.