Introductionhe Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes that connected the East and West. It was central to cultural interaction between the regions and religions. The Silk Road crosses Asia from China to Rome began during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). At one end, Rome had gold and silver and precious gems; another end China had silk and spices and ivory; Each had something the other wanted. Ideas also travelled along the Silk Road trade that affected everyone.
The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk carried out along its length, beginning in the Han dynasty. Trade on the Road played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, Korea, Japan, India, Iran, Afghanistan, Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations. Though silk was the major trade item exported from China, many other goods were traded, as well as religions, syncretic philosophies, sciences, and technologies. Diseases, most notably plague, also spread along the Silk Road.
In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was a route for cultural trade among the civilizations along its network. Because silk was the major trade product which travelled on this road, it was named the Silk Road in 1877 by Ferdinand von Richthofen – a well-known German geographer. This ancient route not only circulated goods, but also exchanged the splendid cultures of China, India, Persia, Arabia, Greek and Rome. In history, many renowned people left their traces on the most historically important trade route, including eminent diplomats, generals and great monks. They crossed desolate deserts and the Gobi, passed murderous prairies and went over the freezing Pamirs to finish theirs missions or realize their beliefs.