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Route of the Silk Road

The Silk Road can be divided into three sections and each section has three routes, the north, south and middle route.

East Section: from Chang'an to Yumenguan, Yangguan (opened in Han Dynasty)
Middle Section: from the west of Yumenguan and Yangguan to Congling (opened in Han Dynasty)
West Section: from the west of Congling, passing through Central Asia and Western Asia, to Europe (opened in Tang Dynasty)

The city names that were on the Silk Road are listed as follows.

The East Section
The section was chosen for its safety and convenience to climb the Liupanshan Mountain and to travel through the Yellow River. The three routes all started from Chang'an or Luoyang, joining up at Wuwei and Zhangye, and then along the Hexi Corridor, finally reached Dunhuang.xian silk road of china

A). The North Route: from Jingchuan, Guyuan and Jingyuan to Wuwei. The whole distance is the shortest, but lack of water supply on the way.

B). The South Route: from Fengxiang, Tianshui, Longxi, Linxia, Ledu and Xining to Zhangye. The whole distance is very long.

C). The Middle Route: transfer from Jingchuan to Pingliang, Huining and Lanzhou to Wuwei. The distance and the water and food supply are all moderate.

The Cities and Famous Sights on the Way:
Xian (former Chang'an): Xumishan Caves, Maijishan Caves, Binglingsi Caves
Wuwei (Liangzhou)
Zhangye (Ganzhou)
Quanzhou (Suzhou)
Dunhuang (Shazhou): Mogao Caves, Yulin Caves

In the 10th Century, the Northern Song government established the “Qinghai Channel” from Tianshui, passing Qinghai, to the West Region. This channel became a new business channel after the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

The Middle Section
The Middle Section was mainly the routes inside the West Region. It would probably vary with the change of the oasis and the desert. The three routes on the way, especially An Xi Si Zhen (set in 640), have branches and side road.

The South Route: from Yangguan at the east, along the south edge of Taklimakan Desert, passing Ruoqiang (Shanshan), Hetan (Yutian) and Yarkand, finally reached Congling.

The Middle Route: from Yumenguan, along the north edge of Taklimakan Desert, passing Lop Nur, Turpan, Yanqi, Kuqa, Aksu and Kashgar, and reached Fergana Valley.

The Cities and Famous Sights on the Way:
Lop Nur
Turpan: Gaochang Ancient Ruins, Yarhu Ancient City, Bezeklik Thousand-Buddha Caves
Kuqa: Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves

The North Route: from Anxi, passing Hami, Jimusar, Ili, and reached Suiye.

The West Section
The routes from the west of Congling to Europe were all the west section of the Silk Road. The three routes of this tibet silk roadsection were connected with the three routes of the Middle Section. The route passing Caspian Sea to Constantinople was opened in the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

The North Route: along the north bank of the Aral Sea, Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, passing Suiye, Russia and Astrakhan, reached Constantinople.

The Middle Route: from Kashgar, passing Fergana Valley, Samarkand and Bukhara, and arrived in Iran, and then connected with the South Route.

The South Route: from Pamir Mountain, passing Kashmir, and reached Pakistan and India. Alternatively, from Pamir Mountain, passing Peshawar, Kabul, Iran, Baghdad and Damashi, finally reached Europe.

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