The Silk Road connected the East to the West, spanning thousands of kilometers from Xian, China to Istanbul, Turkey. For over two thousand years, this vast network of trade routes crisscrossed and connected empires, kingdoms and societies in Asia, Africa and Europe and was invaluable in the trading and sharing of goods, science, technology, literature, arts, and crafts. It was also the first true communications network – an ancient precursor of the Internet where culture, religions, philosophy and languages were transmitted and exchanged, influencing each other. It served as an information highway and the cities and sites along its routes served as important portals of knowledge. The Silk Road’s legacy has had a profound impact on today’s civilizations and in building bridges of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. 

Through UNESCO’s Silk Road Online Platform, it is preserving and reviving this important history as well as promoting knowledge and research efforts. This online platform is also inspiring cultural exchange, development and education.

Digital technology leader Samsung Mobile shares UNESCO’s philosophy and is supporting this vision through their proud sponsorship of the UNESCO’s Silk Road Online Platform. Samsung Mobile has not only been at the forefront of digital innovation, but is dedicated to devoting their technology to better and enrich people’s lives.  

With their shared vision and partnership, UNESCO and Samsung Mobile are committed to building an important space to enable people to learn, share and experience the Silk Road. Together, UNESCO and Samsung Mobile are using the memory of the world to create memories for the future.

Olly Steed’s Silk Roads Journey with Samsung Mobile

As part of the Silk Road Online Platform, UNESCO, Samsung Mobile and Discovery Channel are creating a series of vignettes that explores the history of the Silk Road through the stories of early communication and exchange. The series explores the significant role three historic sites had in influencing trade, culture, knowledge and philosophy. Renowned Investigative Journalist / Explorer Olly Steeds visits these heritage sites relying on his Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 for information and records his observations, thoughts and pictures.


 Xian Episode    I    Samarkand Episode   I  Istanbul Episode


X’ian, China - Ancient Portal of Philosophy

Xian, one of China’s four great historical capital cities was the Silk Road’s eastern gateway. Information and ideas inspired this great civilization including religion: Islam and Buddhism. Two historic sites that symbolize these religions are the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the Great Mosque of Xian. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is one of the most famous Buddhist Pagodas in China and stores the collection of Xuan Zhang, a Chinese pilgrim who brought Buddhism to China. The Great Mosque of Xian is not only evidence of how Islam came to China through the Silk Road but was customized with Chinese architectural elements.




Olly Steed’s Silk Road Research S Note – Day 1 in Xian


Olly Steed’s Silk Road Research S Note – Day 2 in Xian


Olly Steed’s Silk Road Research S Note – Day3 in Xian

Samarkand, Uzbekistan - Ancient Knowledge Portal

Samarkand is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, prospering from its location on the information highway along the Silk Road. It is also considered one of the greatest historical cities of Central Asia and known as a portal for housing the knowledge gathered from the East to the West, from the science to the arts. The heart of Samarkand is Registan, a public square with three Islamic schools and Ulugbek Observatory, which exemplifies scientific achievements in astronomy. Another significant site is Gur-Emir Mausoleum, which showcases achievements in art, design and engineering.


Olly Steed’s Silk Road Research S Note – Day 1 in Samarkand


Olly Steed’s Silk Road Research S Note – Day 2 in Samarkand


Olly Steed’s Silk Road Research S Note – Day 3 in Samarkand

Istanbul, Turkey - Ancient Business Portal

Istanbul is a city where three great empires—the Roman, Byzantium and Ottoman all converged and served as the Western portal of the Silk Road. Istanbul was one of the world’s most significant trade hubs linking the East and the West for thousands of years. Its defining sites are the Grand Bazaar, which represents the spirit of trade of the Silk Road, and Bursa, an important center of silk production and trade. Other historic sites include Hagia Sophia, which was both a church and a mosque, and Topkapi Palace, which reflects the grandeur of the Ottoman Empire in its architecture.


Olly Steed’s Silk Road Research S Note – Day 1 in Istanbul


Olly Steed’s Silk Road Research S Note – Day 2 in Istanbul


Olly Steed’s Silk Road Research S Note – Day 3 in Istanbul

Special-edition Accessories Dedicated to Partnership

To commemorate the partnership with the UNESCO Silk Road Online Platform project, Samsung has created special-edition cases and shoulder bags for the Galaxy Note 10.1. Inspired by the significance of the Silk Road, these accessories are specially designed to illustrate the way the Silk Road connected people and cultures. It was a true communication network connecting great civilizations much as the Internet and digital devices do today. The pattern lines symbolize this interconnectivity by linking images of the Silk Road heritage sites.

UNESCO Silk Road Mobile Website

UNESCO has created an optimized website for the UNESCO Silk Road Online Platform for mobile phones and devices. With funding support from Samsung, this website is specifically designed to load more efficiently and quickly on mobile devices. This new mobile website allows the same access to all of the information, photos, maps and videos currently available on its main website. It provides another way to explore and share the Silk Road wherever you go and may be the guide to your next destination.