Throughout its history, Azerbaijan has played an important role in the development of the Silk Roads specially in Caucuses through connecting Central Asia with Anatolia, the Black Sea and the west. Situated on the west coast of the Caspian Sea and at the feet of the Caucasus Mountains, the country has been a pivotal point in the connection of civilizations since ancient times, welcoming merchants from across land and sea, and thus becoming a vital centre for the exchange not only of goods and merchandise, but of ideas, customs, religions and cultures.
The Chang’an-Tian-shan Silk Road Corridor, one of the major arteries of the historic Silk Roads that opened up trade from China to the west, has become the first stretch of the Silk Road to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The trans-boundary trading corridor, covering some 5,000 kilometers across China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, was in active use from the 2nd century BC until the 16th century AD, connecting cities, peoples and cultures across Central Asia as merchant caravans traversed the mountainous steppe land
Situated between Asia and Africa, and providing a safe harbor at the junction of maritime trading routes, Oman has occupied a unique place along the maritime Silk Roads and brought together merchants from east and west for many centuries. Omani towns and ports, such as Sohar and Muscat, provided safe centres where peaceful trade and exchange could take place between sailors, merchants and travelers from across the world, trading in foreign merchandise as well as produce of the neighboring regions.
The inland routes of the Silk Roads were dotted with caravanserais, large guest houses or hostels designed to welcome travelling merchants and their caravans as they made their way along these trade routes. Found across Silk Roads countries from Turkey to China, they provided not only a regular opportunity for merchants to eat well, rest and prepare themselves in safety for their onward journey, and also to exchange goods, trade with to local markets, and to meet other merchant travelers, and in doing so, to exchange cultures, languages and ideas.
The Spice Routes, also known as Maritime Silk Roads, is the name given to the network of sea routes that link the East with the West. They stretch from the west coast of Japan, through the islands of Indonesia, around India to the lands of the Middle East - and from there, across the Mediterranean to Europe. It is a distance of over 15,000 kilometres and, even today, is not an easy journey. From our very earliest history, people have travelled the Spice Routes.
In the framework of the International Decade for Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), the Republic of Kazakhstan organized in collaboration with UNESCO an International Forum on the “Great Silk Roads” (Almaty,14 -16 October 2013).
Located between the eastern Mediterranean coast and the Euphrates Valley at the crossroads of several trade routes since the 2nd millennium B.C., Aleppo stands out as one of the key centers along the legendary Silk Roads. Aleppo is one of the world's oldest continually inhabited urban cities. Its architecture reflects the influences of its successive rulers: Hittites, Assyrians, Akkadians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Umayyads, Ayyubids, Mameluks and Ottomans.
The Silk Roads call up romantic images in our minds of distant lands and exotic customs, but historically, their practical effect has been to demystify: they have helped to create contacts among far-flung peoples and cultures, and make things that had been distant and exotic less strange. The tales of travelers, and the exchange of goods and ideas, everywhere helped to create awareness of a wider world beyond the local experience.
The Great Silk Road is a system of caravan routes crossing in ancient and middle age time Eurasian continent from Mediterranean Sea to China and influencing the emergence and development of trade and cultural ties between people and statehoods located along the way. The legacy of first transnational contact between people of West and East prove importance of implementing this project aimed at launching open source online web portal dedicated to studies on Silk Road and studies about it.