The Silk Road

subtopic ideas
  • deserts
  • history of region before, rulers
  • bandits
  • monasteries, grottos along the way
  • ways of transportation
  • how mongols changed silk road
  • decline
  • buddhist temples in the rocks around road
  • Shrines along the way
  • The great wall of china
  • goods traded on the route
  • Famous Traders
  • Cities

notes- work in progress
-the silk road is mostly made of Taklamakan Desert
-not much rain, average of 40 degrees in daytime, 20's at night
-Gobi desert has some of tallest moutains in the world
-Tianshan and Pamir ranges are northwest but are greener

History of region before route-
Iranian empire of Persia controlled much of Middle East
-Alexander the Great of Macedon took over and conquered Iranian Empire
-Parthians and Yuezhi people came
-east part of silk road began to form

Monasteries and grottos-
-best grottos can be found on edge of Taklamakan
-can be dug into side of cliffs
-began with Northern Wei Dynasty
-valuable source of information
-spread Buddahism

  • many travelers had to rely on their faith in religion
  • treacherous path.
  • many hidden monasteries built into the rocky walls
    for people to pray.
  • It provided a sanctuary for people who had lost faith in their journey.
  • There were many drawings of Buddhist shrines and Buddha himself on the walls of the cliffs, marking the way to a Monastery.
  • Monks did not live in the monasteries due to harsh conditions, but they left notes of good wishes and kindness to travelers.
  • Very dangerous path.

    -split Moslem world
    -had only vague religious beliefs
    -Genghis Khan lead them to conquer most of Asia during time of Islams spread
    -Rustichello of Pisa, (former prisoner and romace write) wrote about life along silk road

    Trade along the route
    Silk was not the only good traded along the route
    - Romans were only looking for silk
    - ideas of religion exchanged also
    - technology advanced through the road
    - gunpowder, printing, astrolabe, and the compass were major technologies traded
    - tin, gold, turquoise, rubies, jade, camels, horses, silk, ivory, spices, furs, wool, pearls, crystal, perfume, glass, cotton, slaves, grain, pomegranates, safflowers, carrots, lacquer, sheep, elephants, peacocks
    - papermaking idea/technology
- Many goods that were worth little to the Chinese would be priceless for others.

- garrisons built to house soldiers for protection of the travelers
- the Great Wall of China protected the travelers from the north, where the Huns lived

Famous Traders
-Genghis Kahn
-Kublai Kahn
-Marco Polo
-Most famous westerner on silk road
-In asia for 24 years
-bff with Kublai Kahn
-traveled with bros?
-traveled with dad and uncle?
-15 on first journy
-passed through Armenia, Persia, and Afghanistan, over the Pamirs, and all along the Silk Road to China
-called to Kublai Kahn
-master of 4 languages
-loved Cambaluc, capital
-astounded with paper currency, coal and the imperial post
-amazed with china

Final Copy


The Silk Road was the main link between cultures in the East and the cultures in the West. It was a source of wealth for those who dared traverse it. Buddhist temples lay in rocks for the travelers to pray for a safe journey from bandits. Goods, ideas, and technology went from East to West with the traders. The treacherous desert can be warm during the day, but temperatures drop when the sun goes down. Some of the tallest mountains in the world surround the road and to the south lies Himalaya, Karakorum and Kunlun ranges. These block off Central Asia from the Indian sub-continent and are very dangerous. However, in the north lie the Tianshan and Pamir ranges which are more inviting but still risky. Finally, the Gansu Corridor is said to be the simplest way to get through and is found at the bottom of the Qilian Mountains.

Trading Along the Silk Road Route

The Silk Road was the main trade route, really multiple routes, between the western and eastern civilizations. Many goods, ideas, and technologies were traded along the route, not just silk. Metals and minerals such as gold, tin, turquoise, rubies, jade, and pearls were traded for at high prices. Wool, cotton, silk, ivory, furs, and other fabrics were brought to the markets on both the east and west for people to try on and buy. Perhaps the most exotic is the animals brought along the route. Camels, horses, sheep, peacocks, and even elephants were dragged along the route to be sold at the market. Other goods included crystals, glass, spices, perfume, grain, and slaves. Goods that were worth little in China were worth a pound of gold in Europe and places along the way. It also worked in reverse; everyday items in Rome and Europe were worth a fortune in China and other areas in the East.
external image 114337598_150d7d57ab.jpg?v=0
The Silk Road was not only a route for trading goods, but also ideas and technology. Thanks to the Silk Road, technology was advanced faster than it would have. Gunpowder was invented by the Chinese, and was shared along the route, much to the amazement of the West. Other inventions included moveable printing, the astrolabe, and the magnetic compass. Paper and papermaking also found its way to the West via the Silk Road. Ideas were perhaps the most important of things to travel the route. Buddhism and Islam found their way to China on the route, along with Christianity, though Buddhism was the big excitement. Temples were set up along the route for people of each religion traveling the route. Other ideas picked up from each side of the Silk Road were metalworking, the wheel, the chariot, and forms of writing. It is easy to see that the Silk Road was a very important piece of Ancient Chinese and European life, financially, culturally, and technologically.

Famous Travelers and Traders

Maffeo and Niccilo Polo were two very famous brothers that were able to greatly influence trade on the the silk road. These two men got almost no credit for their achievements. Instead, their brother Marco Polo is credited with the bulk of their accomplishments. The two brothers began as Venetian mercahnts who traveled through Surai in 1260 until the civil war between Barka and Hulagu. They attempted to take a 'shortcut' east on their way back trying to bypass the war. This plan lead to the brothers being stranded in Bukhara for over three years. Luckily, a VIP emissary found them and brought them to meet the Great Kublai Khan,who was over-joyed to see fine Latin explorers. They finally reached the capital, Cambaluc, in what is now called Bejiing in 1266. They returned home in April 1269. They left again to travel east in 1271. This time, the brothers' dad, Messer, younger brother Marco, and two friars came along.
Marco Polo
Marco Polo
The friars did not last long, turning back after they reached a war zone. Together the family passed through Armenia, Persia, and Afghanistan, over the Pamirs, finally reached the Silk Road and made it to China. When they reached China, they had to pass the Taklamakan and Gobi Desert. Marco Polo describes the Gobi as " long that it would take a year to go from end to end; and at the narrowest point it takes a month to cross it. It consists entirely of mountains and sands and valleys. There is nothing at all to eat." By 1275, and after three and one half years and 5600 miles, Kublai Khan summoned the Polos to his capital. Because Marco was a master of four languages and very intellegent, he was appointed to a high governmental position. Marco loved his life there, however he was very confused with paper currency, coal, and the imperial post, three new Chinese inventions. He also loved the Mongol communication systems which used priority classing. Marco traveled throughout China and was amazed. He also was appointed official of the Privy Council for three years. After 17 years under Kublai Khan, Marco finally had to leave because if he died, they would be able to get their fare fortunes. When he returned, he commanded a small war and was put in jail for a year. Lucky for the rest of the world, a writer of romances named Rustichello of Pisa was there to record a book of Marco's tales. He later bacame knows as Marco Milione because of the supposed million lies he told in his book. He remained in his hometown of Venice, where he died at age 70 in 1324, still claiming that he had only told half of his story.

external image TigersNestMonastery.jpg

Temples in the rocks

Since the Silk Road was a very dangerous path, many travelers had to rely in their faith in religion to help them retain moral on their journey. For this reason, builders and monks constructed monasteries in hidden grottos. These places provided sanctuaries for people to pray and be safe. Many drawings were of Buddhist shrines and Buddha himself. These spiritual drawings were drawn by paid artists and marked the way to these hidden monasteries. Even though normal monasteries were inhabited by monks, these monasteries lay deserted. This was due to harsh conditions that which provided unsuitable for people to live in. The most spectacular examples of these temples can be found on the edges of the Taklimakan Desert. They were dug into rock on the edges of cliffs. They contained valuable information and spread Buddhism. Many who had lost their faith came to these temples to find reasons to continue their journey.

Geography of the Silk Road

The Silk Road passes through some of the most treacherous places on earth. A large portion of the route is in the Taklimakan Desert in China. The Taklimakan Desert is very dry, averaging much less rain per year than most of the world. The entire desert is covered with sand and rock. But traders were not done with just one desert. People who survived the Taklimakan Desert also had to avoid the Gobi Desert, external image canyoncrossing800.jpgwhich is one of the biggest and most dangerous deserts in the world. The Gobi contains some of the highest mountains in the world. Other high mountains lay to the South, in the Himalayas.external image The%20Taklamakan%20Desert%20at%20Sunset,%20Xinjiang.jpg

The Tianshan and Pamir mountain ranges are northwest from there, and though large, are much greener and more hospitable. Along with the deserts came high temperatures with maximum temperatures of almost 35°C in the shade daily. At night travelers would receive the other extreme. At night, temperatures fell into the negatives with rare exceptions. It is easy to see why so many people did not make the journey successfully with so many geographical obstacles.


remember we only need 4 suptopics, one per person, so don't bother finding 10! If you've found a good one, start the final paragraph, this is due on friday!

each section needs a picture too. i don't think the intro does, but if you finish it, maybe a picture would be nice...

Do your section with picture then finish intro or start conclusion. good paragraph connor- you probably set the standard to high!

third source is for trade along route starting w/ pomegranates + first few of famous traders. fourth source forfamous traders again, couldn't finish, good to use

Hey, i began the other paragraph but i didnt finsh yet, feel free to add on.

Hey, i started doing temples in the rocks so feel free to add on if you want.

guys, we need 4 paragraphs, does intro count?

if somebody could get an image for travlers and traders, that'd be great

unfortunatly, intro doesnt count. I'm gonna finish what hasn't been written... I think we're missing some stuff. Please someone edit this stuff later 2nite.