Part of the Traveling the Silk Road exhibition.

The Scholarly City

An elaborately carved object, with a braided cord attached.

The journey along the Silk Road has taken you thousands of miles from the imperial city of Xi'an, China. At last, here is its western rival: Baghdad, capital of the Islamic world. Founded in 762, this elegant metropolis is known as the City of Peace. Its gleaming palaces and fragrant gardens look down on Iraq's Tigris River; foreign goods arrive daily by ship as well as by camel caravan. An illustrious family of Islamic rulers holds court here. Under their patronage, Baghdad has blossomed into a remarkable center of learning-a meeting place for scholars, scientists and philosophers and a storehouse for knowledge from many lands.