The enduring Silk Road

A documentary series by RT. Text by RT.

The Ancient Silk Road was a trade route that began in China in the 2nd century BC and, for more than 1700 years, linked Europe and Asia. As well as goods, it facilitated a cultural exchange between the continents, knowledge, religion, art, philosophy and tradition all passed back and forth between distant nations. Modern China now has the strongest economy in Asia and is a major world power. This series examines the enduring influence of the Silk Road in making the nation what it is today and how its legacy still thrives in China.

PART ONE

From the 2nd century BC onwards, the great Silk Road was a vital trade route that provided a link between Eurasian countries. It began during China’s Han dynasty and eventually stretched all the way to Rome. Throughout its 17 centuries of existence, it played a crucial role in enabling cultural interaction between nations and peoples all over the continents. As well as establishing economic ties, it also facilitated the exchange between countries of knowledge, religious practice, architectural styles, art, philosophy and traditions.

Modern Chinese culture has been heavily influenced by centuries of trade with neighbouring countries. Today, there are still sites in China that preserve the history of the Silk Road and the country’s role in it. Tang West Market Museum in the city of Xi'an marks the ancient starting point of the Silk Road and displays relics unearthed from what used to be a major centre for international trade. The Silk Route Museum in the city of Jiuquan celebrates the first ever customs checkpoint in history. This city served as an outpost on China’s border with unforgiving and perilous nomadic lands. Meanwhile, a network of grottos called the Mogao Caves bears witness to Buddhism arriving and thriving in China.

Today, China remains true to the well-established tradition of cultural exchange with its neighbours. 2016-2017 are dedicated to furthering Russo-Chinese relations and bilateral media ties. The history of collaboration between the two countries dates back as far as 400 years, when religious missionaries crossed the borders to introduce the other side to their homeland’s rich cultural practices.

[640],shadow=true,start=,stop=

PART TWO

China is developing a unique blend of socialism and capitalism. The state-owned sector dominates but there has been a sudden surge in privately owned businesses operating in a new market economy. The two systems coexist in apparent harmony despite the seemingly contradictory ideologies of capitalism and communism. Private businesses began to appear after the country’s economic reforms of the late 1970s, ushered in by then premier, Deng Xiaoping. The emergence of private entrepreneurship led to rapid economic development for China. The country is still among the world’s fastest growing economies and is often the first to tap into new markets.

To further expand its regional economic influence, China has launched a programme to revive the famous old Silk Road. They are confident that the route will develop new international markets and forge new business alliances. The multifaceted programme involves improving road infrastructure and modernising key cities along the ancient Silk trading route. They are also creating more favourable conditions for business with incentives like company tax breaks and duty-free towns near the borders with neighbouring countries.
The project has been dubbed the ‘One Belt, One Road initiative’, and involves cooperation with more than 60, mostly neighbouring countries, with Russia among the major partners. RTD examines examples of Sino-Russian cooperation carried out under the ‘One Belt, One Road’ umbrella, including large-scale government projects and private trade deals with Russian customers.

[320],shadow=true,start=,stop=

PART THREE

- The Ancient Silk Road was a major trade route that linked Europe and Asia between the 2nd century BC and the late 16th AD.
- Modern China is a rapidly growing economy. “One Belt, One Road” is an initiative to revive the Silk Road to help the country play a bigger role in global affairs.
- Ancient towns that were once key outposts on the Silk Road are undergoing rapid growth both economically and in infrastructure as they are to reprise their roles as major trading waypoints along the route
- Citizens now enjoy new business opportunities and contribute further to developing their cities

In its heyday, the ancient Silk Road was Eurasia’s most important trade route, connecting two rich continents to facilitate trade and cultural exchange. Modern-day China has seen near constant economic growth. It boasts of several record figures, including the highest number of skyscrapers and the longest railroads. Five years ago, the government announced a new plan, “One Belt, One Road”, an initiative to revive the Silk Road. The strategy seeks to help China play a bigger role in global affairs through developing an infrastructure that will unite the countries of the two continents under a cohesive economic area.

Many ancient Chinese cities that were once outposts along the Silk Road, desert oases or transport hubs are now rapidly transforming themselves into megacities, so that they can, once again, service and profit from the trade route. New businesses are opening, facilitated by the development of a reliable transport system, which in turn brings greater tourist flow. Some cities are also grated the status of special economic area, offering attractive tax incentives to foreign investors.

We visit two very different cities; Lanchjou and Urumchi, united by the Silk Road’s history. Both are experiencing rapid development. We meet businessmen who tell us how it feels to watch their home towns transform into economically and politically significant conurbations and how it inspires them to aim for international markets and seek new outlets for their businesses to grow.

[320],shadow=true,start=,stop=

Related Videos

Featured Videos

A trip to the sacred HuangShan Mountain 黃山, AnHui province
HuangShan is well known for its beautiful scenery, sunsets and sunrises, unusually shaped granite peaks, ancient pine trees, hot springs, winter snow, and views of the clouds from above. Some of the peaks rise more than 1,800 meters (6,000 feet). HuangShan is a frequent subject in traditional Chinese paintings and literature.
The wonderful waterfalls of JiuZhaiGou 九寨沟
A scenic area / nature reserve in SiChuan province. Also, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Three highlights of central BeiJing 北京
Includes TianAnMen Square, the Forbidden City (Palace Museum) and the Temple of Heaven. Video by LimeWave.com, which has photos and videos for a number of places around the world.
The magnificently beautiful Temple of Heaven 天坛, BeiJing 北京
South of the Forbidden City and Tian'AnMen Square in central BeiJing, the blue sky city, lies this amazing Taoist temple, set in an abundant area (now park) of trees and a great place to visit. The wonderful architecture is brimming with symbolism and the park as a whole is a favorite for locals to hang out and practice Tai Chi or play JianZi (hacky sack), etc .
XinTianDi 新天地, ShangHai
XinTianDi ('New Heaven and Earth') is a delightful, up-market area partly based on renovated traditional mid-19th century ShiKuMen ('Stone Gate') houses and alleyways. Here you find boutiques, book stores, cafes and restaurants, hotels and shopping malls. Most of the cafes and restaurants feature both indoor and outdoor dining and are popular by day and by night.
Mount HuangShan 黄山 : a documentary
HuangShan (Yellow Mountain) is a group of mountains in AnHui province, east China. Famous for its rugged peaks, unusual rocks and tenacious pine trees, this beautiful landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A Voice of China (3)
Our third and final post on the 4th series of the Voice of China - surprise edition ; ) Includes : Lin Yan (林燕) - "别来纠缠我" (Don't Pester Me) Zhang Xin (张新) - "Fallin'" 21:14 Zhu Ke (朱克) - "离不开你" (Can't Leave You) 24:08 SaYa Chang (张惠春) - "怎么说我不爱你" (How Can You Say I Don't Love You) 27:31 Li ZhiXian (李致贤) & Chyi Chin (齐秦) - "火柴天堂" (Matchstick Heaven) and more .
Teaching English in SuZhou 苏州
Free-skating in ShangHai 上海
Rollerblading the metropolis ...
BeiHai’s Silver Beach 北海银滩
Pre-wedding photo shoots …
Special memories ...
Why the West is using the Uyghurs
The XinJiang region, (north) west China, has been under Chinese rule since at least the 18th Century. While bombing Muslims everywhere else, the Uyghurs in China (a Turkic people in XinJiang) are a useful tool for Western attempts to destabilize and break up China. Just like the useful idiots in Hong Kong, and Tibet.

A selection of popular videos

Keyword / tag search :