GREAT SILK ROAD AND UZBEKISTAN
In ancient times, there were many land routes on the territory of Eurasia, but only one could become the main caravan road that connected East Asia with the Mediterranean. Only one could become a legend, a saga about which reach us and now, and "silk blood” flowed in his veins.
The Great Silk Road is a grandiose trade route that connected East and West. First of all, it was used for exporting silk from China that is what its name is related to. In fact, a German geographer Baron von Richthofen called it Silk in 1877, before him the trade road had been called the Western Meridional Road. The length of the Great Silk Road was 12 thousand km, one of the routes of the trade caravan passed by the territory of modern Uzbekistan.
The beginning of the functioning of the Great Silk Road dates back to the second half of the 2nd century BC, when a Chinese diplomat and intelligence officer Zhang Jiang first discovered the West, the countries of Central Asia, for the Chinese.
The first camel caravan with silk and bronze mirrors went to the Fergana Oasis through the Turfan cavity along the Fiery Mountains and spurs of the Tien Shan in 121 BC.
Historians believe that the Great Silk Road was mainly used to transport goods: silk, spices, ornaments, but not for travelling. The goods were transferred from hand to hand. Mainly, they were delivered to their destination on donkeys and camels.
At the same time, silk was not the only commodity that was transported along the transcontinental route. Horses, very valuable in China, military equipment, gold and silver, semi-precious stones and glassware, leather and wool, carpets and cotton fabrics, exotic fruits - watermelons and peaches, fat-rumped sheep, hunting dogs, leopards and lions were taken from Central Asia. Caravans transported porcelain and metal utensils, lacquerware and cosmetics, tea and rice from China. In the travelling bags of merchants one could find elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns, tortoise shells, spices and much more.
It is worth noting that there were numerous oases and cities flourished on the caravan routes.
In the 1st century AD, the Great Silk Road was joined Daqin (the Roman Empire called by Chinese) and Seres (China called by Romans).
In the 4th-9th centuries, the international trade network was supported by the sogdis in the East and the Jews-rahdonites in the West. Sogdian language served as the language of international communication: for example, the sacred texts of Buddhism were translated from Sanskrit to Chinese through Sogdian served as the interlingua.
Trade on the Great Silk Road grew especially after the sea route to China from the Persian Gulf was closed for a while in the 12th century, and the whole flow of goods from the West gushed into China through Khorezm. For almost fifty years, Khorezm had been an important intermediary in the trade of the whole world with China. Merchants from the Volga territory, India, and Iran came to Khorezm, from where trade caravans went to the Middle East, East Turkestan and China. From Urgench, the capital of Khorezm, the routes led to Mongolia, through the Polovtsy steppe to Saksin (the port city at the offing of the Volga), to Russian principalities and to Europe.
The Great Silk Road played an important role in development of economic and cultural ties between the peoples of the Near East, the Caucasus, Central Asia and China. The road, for example, served as a conduit for distribution of technologies and innovations, including arts (dance, music, visual arts, architecture), religion (Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Manichaeism), technology (production of silk itself, as well as gunpowder, paper etc.).
The importance of the Silk Road began to fall in connection with the beginning of the Age of Discovery in the 14th century, and so swiftly that by the 16th century, trade throughout the Great Silk Road had fallen into decay.
The international trade route played the historical role in development of the economy and culture of many countries.
An attempt was made to activate the ancient trade route connecting East and West. For this purpose, an International Transport Programme Europe-Caucasus-Asia, TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia), sometimes called "the New Silk Route", was created. In the summer of 1998, twelve countries of the Caucasus, the Black Sea and Central Asia reached an agreement on the creation of a railway, sea, air and road transport corridor from China and Mongolia to Europe, bypassing Russia. The Programme Secretariat is in Baku.