Running through the center of the country, the Chinese stretch of the Silk Road covers such diverse surface as verdant 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 cotton caravans and Marco Polo as well as experience a modern-day once-in-a-lifetime make your way that takes you through the breadth of Chinese culture and backyards. Below is a trying of some of the adventures that await you.
Start in China’s former imperial capital and normal Silk Road entry point, Xi’an. T ake a day or two here to admire the city’s stately brilliance, embodied in such sites as the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, the city’s impressive defensive wall, and the world-famous Terracotta Internet marketer.
Continue along to the outpost of Jiayuguan to see one of the most ancient enduring unchanged sections 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 Pit, a striking collection of 49 caves carved right out of 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 exquisitely painted frescos and vibrant colored statues of Buddha and various Bodhisattvas.
As the oasis town of a that used to be major junction between the Upper and Southeast Silk Road s, Dunhuang was of such tactical importance, it commonly faced one attack after another and many of its towers and defensive walls are still visible today. Dunhuang was also the last frontier for traders, who would stock up on precious supplies and water before beginning the arduous make your way into the desert.
Relive the sensations of those ancient traders and explorers as they triggered into the formidable desert by participating in a camel caravan through captivating golden dunes. Spend an unbelievably starry night by the Vocal singing Sand Mountain range, where you may even have the chance to hear the ghostly melodies of the sand. As the sun rises, continue out to Crescent Spring, a luxuriant oasis that has a tendency to leave behind its arid and barren surroundings.
As you enter the far-west state of Xinjiang, take the opportunity to explore the ruins of the ancient city of Gaochang by donkey cart. Abandoned in the 14th century, this former Silk Road trading mainstay was once the largest city in the region, a truth made much more surprising as its fallling palaces, Buddhist stupas, and defensive walls are in the process of slowly sinking under the sands of the forbidding Taklamakan Desert. Not a long way away are the breathtaking Flaming Mountain range, the colorful red and orange eroded sandstone hills of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame.
As the last major city before the road rears off into other exotic lands, 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 arguably Muslim influence can be seen in everything from its venerable architectural jewels, such as the Id Khar Mosque and Abak Hoja Tomb, to the hospitality of its habitants. Finish your visit with a bit of horseback riding through the surrounding oasis and its charming Uyghur and Kazak villages.
The Silk Road was once a major artery of trade and ideas spanning the heart of China. You can still get a sense of its former importance and endless mystique with an expedition down this outstanding road.
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