Remarkable Sights Along Central Asia’s Silk Road
Ancient architecture, art, diverse cultures, deserts, and many more extraordinary sights are found along the world’s oldest and longest trade route, the Silk Road. This trade route is about 4,350 miles (7,000 kilometers) long and passes through central Asia to Europe (Travel China Guide). Along the route you will come across unique mosques, bazaars, cultural performances, archaeological sites, and numerous vistas.
One of the most famous and largest public urban squares, Naghsh-e Jahan in Esfahan, Iran, was built by Safavid shah Abbas l. This site captures the beauty and rich history in Islamic and Iranian architecture. Naghsh-e Jahan was used for celebrations, promenades, and public executions (UNESCO). Today, there are shops decorated with ceramic tiles and paintings, which has added a new architectural element to the square.
Other popular sites to visit are the exciting bazaars and stunning views of the deserts. A center known for travellers and trade is the city, Bukhara. The city lies on the Zerafshan river delta in central Uzbekistan and was a major center for culture and scholars (UNESCO). Often, lamb fleeces, silk, cotton, leather, carpers, and clothing were traded in this city along with gold and embroidery (UNESCO). Bukhara is just one of the many culturally enriching bazzars along the Silk Road trade route.
Another place you cannot miss along the trade route is the fifth largest desert in Asia, the Gobi Desert (China & Asia Cultural Travel). The area of the desert is larger than the countries Germany and France combined (China & Asia Cultural Travel). Because of the unpredictable climate during the transition from day to night, the population density is low. The majority of people who live near the desert are a part of the Mongol ethnic minority and use nomadic pastoral farming as their main occupation. While traveling along the desert, you may discover Mongol huts and breathtaking scenery.
Along the Silk Road are also major capitals. Tashkent, Uzbekistan was once a center for trade. Today, with a population of over 2.5 million people, the city has maintained its unique architecture. Sights that are worth seeing include, Tashkent TV Tower, the German Church, Amir Temur Square, the tomb of Tamerlane, etc. (Advantour). Another major center along the Silk Road is Kyrgyzstan capital, Bishkek. Bishkek was the main political, economic, and military center (UNESCO). Now, people who visit the capital enjoy going to bazzars, Ala Too Square, Burana Tower, Victory Square, Mosques, and many more sights.
Next is the capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty. Almaty has Russian elements within the ancient city and lies at the bottom of the Tien Shan mountains, which has amazing views of rare wildlife as well as long hiking paths (SIlk Road Treasure Tours). For hundreds of years the city has been the center for Kazakhstan's culture and trade. Overall, there are many destinations throughout the Silk Road that have a rich history in trade, culture, architecture, and art, which are reflected in today's modern world. If you are interested in touring the Silk Road, look no further! We are offering a detailed and comprehensive itinerary in April 2021: Along Central Asia’s Silk Road.
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“Bukhara.” Bukhara | Silk Roads Programme. https://en.unesco.org/silkroad/content/bukhara
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“Meidan Emam, Esfahan.” UNESCO World Heritage Centre. https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/115/
“Silk Road Facts.” Silk Road Facts: Length, Location, Attractions, History, 2 May 2019.
“Tashkent - Capital of Uzbekistan.” Tashkent, Capital of Uzbekistan - Travel Guide.