Travel Information

On the Historical & Cultural Value of the Silk Road

I.Inception of International Diplomacy in China

The Silk Road was a transportation artery for the trade of silk between Asia and Europe from the 2nd century B.C. to 16th Century A.D., which helped facilitate cultural exchanges between the two continents. In 140 B.C., ZHANG Qian was ordered by the Emperor to start a diplomatic mission to the Western Region to persuade the neighboring countries to establish an alliance against Xiongnu, an ancient ethnic group in China, which marked the start of the Silk Road. Since then, the subsequent dynasties in China, with the attitude of friendship and mutual progress, had used the convenience brought by the Silk Road to exchange with countries along the Silk Road. The envoys were also sent by these countries to Chang’an, the then capital city of China. The Silk Road promoted the development of international diplomacy in China. 

II.Channel for Dialogue between Western and Eastern Civilizations 

The Silk Road was for fusion, dialogue and exchanges between eastern and western civilizations and cultures. Since first developed by ZHANG Qian in the Western Han Dynasty, it has become an important channel for exchanges and dialogues between the major civilizations in Asia, Europe and Africa. The papermaking and iron smelting technologies and silk products were introduced into the Western World. The construction technologies, commerce and trade also came into China from the West. Eastern and Western civilizations met here and absorbed each other, which pushed forward world civilization in the dialogue. 

III.Corridor for Cultural Exchanges in the World

The Silk Road, running through Asia, Europe and Africa, connects almost all nations in the world. The Chinese Culture, Aegean Sea Culture, Arabic Culture and Indian Culture were disseminated along the Silk Road. At the same time, they kept fusing and exchanging with other cultures, making the Silk Road a corridor for cultural exchanges. In the history of more than 1,000 years, Xi’an has been the starting point and terminal of this culture-exchange corridor, playing a leading role in developing, expanding, preserving and maintaining the Silk Road.