Best of China’s Silk Road Attractions & Luxury Tours, China
Travel & Treasures Along the Ancient Trade Route
The Silk Road was created around 130 BC when the Han government gave General Zhang Qian the mission of establishing trade relations with the nomadic tribes which populated western China. The famous route began in Xi’an, the capital of China at the time, eventually split into the Southern, Central and Northern Routes and found its way to such places as India, Pakistan and Rome.
Today, you too can enjoy traversing across sections of the Silk Road, visit some of the culturally rich cities which sprung up along it and behold many of the treasures which these ancient places contain. Not only is the Silk Road rife with cultural discoveries, it also passes through some incredibly diverse and breathtaking natural scenery.
Enjoy some of these hotspots positioned along the intriguing Silk Road.
The ancient capital city of Xi’an is where it all started. Not only did the Silk Road begin its almost 2,000 year history here, but the organized country of China also traces its origin to Xi’an when, Qin, the first emperor successfully united warring tribal factions in 221 BC.
Xi’an offers those on luxury China tours the magnificent display of life-size Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the massive city wall with its four impressive gateways and the looming Bell Tower which used to warn of pending attacks. Other sights of interest include the Great Mosque, the Gao Courtyard, the Shaanxi, Banpo and Forest of Stele Museums and the Huaging Hot Springs.
The next stop on the Silk Road falls at Lanzhou which is the capital of Gansu Province and a major transportation center due to its strategic placement on the Yellow River which runs through the city. Lanzhou was a key location on the Silk Route and remains a major point for exploring it today.
Lanzhou is a wonderful mix of the modern and old. Within the city, visit Five Spring Mountain Park and White Pagoda Park, take a walking tour through the Gansu Provincial Museum and relax at in the Waterwheel Garden. Journey outside of Lanzhou and enjoy the beauty of Sangke Prairie, Labrang Monastery, or the Maiji Caves.
Jiayuguan, or Jiayu Pass, was not only an important point along the Silk Road trading route, but it also served as a military garrison to guard China’s westernmost frontier. It is at this point that the Silk Road passes across the famed Great Wall, and the Jiayuguan section of the Wall is one of the best preserved.
Stroll through the pavilions and towers which retain their magnificent beauty and grandeur, reflecting classic Chinese architecture and behold commanding views of the Gobi Desert running towards the snowy peaks of the Qilian Mountains. A great deal of history can also be gleaned by visiting the Great Wall Museum.
Dunhuang was the ancient staging post for those preparing to cross through the central and southern Silk Road routes around the Taklamakan Desert. Here travelers prepared for the long leg of their journey to Kashgar, or rested up before venturing on to Xi’an.
Dunhuang is one of the Silk Road’s top tourist destinations and offers a wealth of cultural distinctions and natural beauty like the Sand Dunes which you can climb to view the lake on the other side. Venture to the well known Mingshashan-Yueyaquan National Park or the Huyang Forest.
Head to the Mogao Caves some 25km from the town of Dunhuang and behold the beauty of Buddhist manuscripts and art. Close by is the White Horse Pagoda built in honor of a monk’s horse who gave its life to bring the monk to China.
For the true adventure travelers, take a camel trek of 2 to 7 days into the Gobi desert and visit places like Mogao Cave and enjoy the sunsets, sunrises and clear night skies from your desert nomad camp.
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