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© UNESCO

Throughout history, thousands of languages have been spoken along the lengths of the Silk Roads, both land and maritime. These languages have been one of the major means of transmission of knowledge, beliefs, traditions and customs between peoples alongside the historic Silk Road and into societies and communities far beyond. However, despite their historic vibrancy, not all of these languages have survived until today: some continue to be spoken whilst others are endangered or have become extinct. Those that are endangered or extinct have been recorded on the UNESCO list of World languages in Danger. Read more about the languages in the UNESCO Atlas of World Languages in Danger.

The Silk Road Online Platform provides information about the languages of the historic Silk Road. You may filter these languages by route (land or maritime), or search the name of a country alongside the Silk Road for a survey of these languages.