Running through the center of the country, the Chinese stretch of the Silk Road covers such diverse terrain as lush flood plains, mountain ranges, and the sands of the Gobi Desert. An expedition along 21st Century Maritime Silk Road this historic trading route allows you to retrace the paths of ancient a silk duvet caravans and Marco Polo as well as experience a modern-day once-in-a-lifetime trek that takes you through the breadth of Chinese culture and landscapes. Below is a selecting of some of the adventures that await you.
Commence in China’s former imperial capital and classical Silk Road access point, Xi’an. T ake a day or two here to admire the city’s stately grandeur, embodied in such sites as the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, the city’s impressive defensive wall, and the world-famous Terracotta Armed service.
Continue along to the outpost of Jiayuguan to see one of the older living still in effect parts of the great Wall. Composed of compact earth bricks, this section demonstrates the great Wall in its earliest incarnation.
Next, explore the Yulin Grottos of Ten-thousand Buddha Valley, an impressive bunch of 45 caves carved out from the sheer rock face. Inside the caves, some of which date back to 200 BCE, you’ll find many prime examples of early Buddhist art including hundreds of skillfully painted frescos and brightly colored figurines of Buddha and various Bodhisattvas.
As the oasis town of a formally major junction between the Northern and Lower Silk Road s, Dunhuang was of such tactical importance, it commonly faced one invasion after another and many of its systems and defensive walls are still visible today. Dunhuang was also the last frontier for traders, who would refill on precious supplies and water before beginning the arduous trek into the desert.
Relive the feelings of those ancient traders and explorers as they embark into the formidable desert by participating in a camel caravan through captivating golden dunes. Spend an unbelievably starry night by the Singing Sand Mountains, where you may even have the chance to hear the ghostly tunes of the sand. As the sun rises, continue out to Crescent Spring, a luxuriant oasis that seems to defy its arid and barren surroundings.
As you enter the far-west province of Xinjiang, take the opportunity to explore the damages of the ancient city of Gaochang by donkey cart. Abandoned in the 14th century, this former Silk Road trading hub was once the largest city in the region, undeniable made all the more surprising as its crumbling palaces, Buddhist stupas, and defensive walls are in the process of slowly making beneath the sands of the forbidding Taklamakan Desert. Not a distance are the breathtaking Flaming Mountains, the colorful red and orange eroded sandstone inclines of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame.
As the last major city before the road rears off into other exotic countries, Kashgar remains true to its trading center heritage. Check out the stands of intricately crafted goods on Zhiren Street or soak in the lively atmosphere of the local livestock market. The city’s distinctly Muslim influence can be seen in everything from its venerable industrial gems, such as the Id Khar Mosque and Abak Hoja Burial place, to the hospitality of its people. Finish your visit with a bit of horse riding through the surrounding oasis and its charming Uyghur and Kazak towns.
The Silk Road was once a major artery of trade and ideas cris-crossing the heart of China. You can still get a sense of its former importance and eternal mystique with an expedition down this unforgettable road.
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