Throughout history the legendary Silk Roads have drawn people from all over the world for trade, discovery, and adventure.  Crossing Eurasia over thousands of kilometers on land and sea, these routes have been the arteries that have allowed cultures to be circulated, exchanged, influenced  and recreated over centuries.  From 1990 to 1995 UNESCO retraced these routes in five scientific expeditions which served to gather important knowledge and data that have given us a deeper understanding of the legacy of these routes.

© Ankur Shah/ The three explorers

UNESCO is going to present a new expedition that will retrace the ancient passageways from Venice, Italy to Beijing, China from March to July 2017.  Unlike previous expeditions, viewers will be able to accompany the journey online through social media and the Silk Roads Online Platform.  UNESCO invites viewers to cross over 15,000 kilometers with three young explorers, Ankur, Caspar, and Giulio, as they drive from Italy to China and observe and experience these ancient routes in the 21st century.  They aspire to raise further awareness and reveal the importance of the cultural, religious, and commercial legacies of these routes  by documenting their journey on their blog, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as posting diary entries every two weeks on the Silk Roads Online Platform.

© Ankur Shah/ The explorers' Land Rover

As they retrace the footsteps of thousands of travelers before them, the trio will be contemplating the meaning of the ‘Silk Roads’ and Common Cultural Heritage.  By visiting locales and historic sites, including UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as partaking in different elements of intangible cultural heritage, Ankur, Caspar, and Giulio will experience cultural elements including customs, traditions, art, languages, and cuisine.  From museums and gardens to street markets and mosques, they will be examining the shared values and heritage which resulted from the interactions that took place along the Silk Roads from a comparative approach.

Their expedition will be undertaken by car to realize their dream to bridge cultures, overcome differences, and understand the Silk Roads and its importance for Intercultural Dialogue in the modern era.  Stay tuned for new diary entries every two weeks on the Silk Roads Online Platform.