Map of the Exhibition
This exhibition takes you along the world's oldest international highway, on a voyage that spans six centuries (AD 600 to 1200). It showcases four representative cities: Xi'an, Turfan, Samarkand, and Baghdad.
A network of rough trails, the Silk Road connected China to the cities and empires of Central Asia and the Mediterranean for thousands of years. Along with goods and materials, travelers exchanged technologies, religions, music and literature, and ways of thinking.
The biggest city in the world during the Tang Dynasty, this highly diverse and cosmopolitan trading center was the capital of China.
A sophisticated underground irrigation system transformed this and other central Asian oases into agricultural centers.
In present-day Uzbekistan, this city was the center of Sogdian civilization, whose traders were go-betweens in commerce that extended to India, China, and Persia.
The capital of the Islamic world and present-day Iraq, Baghdad was an intellectual center where scholarship flourished in architecture, literature, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, chemistry, zoology, and geography.
6. Trading by Sea
Baghdad and other cities became major centers for maritime trade, which was made possible by advances in technology and eventually overshadowed the caravan trade. Sea travel was faster, and carried artistic styles and new kinds of goods throughout Asia.
for a printable version of this map (pdf)