Where is the Silk Road?
Silk Road, also called the Silk Route, was a trade route between China and the Mediterranean Sea, a well-connected and carefully-organized network of roads that used to connect the East, West, and South Asia. The Silk Road’s name refers to silk which was the main luxurious merchandise journeyed from China to other parts of the world along this road. Chinese merchants used to trade silk, tea, and porcelain to the western lands and wool, gold, silver, fur, and glasswares were the goods exported to the east. The first users of the road who made long and adventurous journeys on this route should have lived in the first half of the first millennium BC., but the most famous traveler of this road was Marco Polo of Venice who lived more than 12 centuries later.
|Painting of a caravan on the Silk Road
Iran on the Silk Road
Iran, also known as the Great Persia, played an important role on the Silk Road, as it is located between the east and the west of the world, and some historians believe that on some parts, this road was based on the Royal Road constructed during the Achaemenid Era (6th to 4th century). According to the ancient maps, the Silk Road started from Huang City in China and continued to Turkestan. Then, the route passed through central Asia and reached Samarqand and Bukhara. When the Silk Road entered Iran, it passed through northern cities of Iran including Merv, Sarakhs, Nishapur, Gorgan, Ray, Qazvin, Zanjan, and north of Hamadan, then entered where modern Iraq is located and then it was continued to the west. But there were subbranches of the main road as well, such as the roads which led to central and southern Iran and passed through cities like Kashan, Nain, Kerman, Yazd, Shiraz, and Isfahan.The Silk Road’s flourishing time in Iran, was during the Sassanid Era (3rd to 7th century) when this empire gained its main wealth by exchanging products for silk through the Silk Road. Traders imported and exported many different types of products including various types of carpets, precious stones and gems, fabrics, spices, and all kinds of high-consumption products via this ancient route.
|Zeinoddin caravanserai - Yazd, Iran
Tokens of the Silk Road in Iran
The merchants, voyagers, and caravans traveling on the Silk Road needed places to take a rest and recover during the nights. The Persian kings especially Shah Abbas I constructed caravanserais along the roads to accommodate the travelers passing through Iran. A caravanserai is a roadside inn and is one of the main elements in Iranian architecture. Many of the caravanserais constructed on the Silk Road route are still available and some of them are still in use! Bazaars are other significant mementos of the Silk Road in Iran, as well as the caravanserais. Bazaars are historical markets that were hubs for merchants to trade merchandise and exchange goods. The historic bazaars of Iran are located in the cities through which the main roads used to pass like Tabriz, Kerman, Yazd, Isfahan.
|Zeinoddin Caravanserai - Yazd, Iran
Iran Silk Road Tours
Today many history lovers and adventurers are interested in exploring the Silk Road and the heritages left in countries like Iran. There are now many Silk Road tours available in Iran and some travel agencies are specifically working as Silk Road Tour operators. With a passion for exploring Iran deserts and caravanserais, we the PackToIran team have designed a special tour named Explore the Silk Road. This Silk Road Tour package covers Tehran, Kashan, Isfahan, Yazd, Zeinoddin Caravanserai, and Shiraz, and includes the eastern desert of Iran and the main touristic cities, which were one day located on the ancient Silk Road route.
|Explore the Silk Road tour - PackToIran