The Silk Road in China

More than half of the Silk Road is located in modern day China. The origin of the Silk Road began in Xian, formerly known as Changan, which was famed for its silk production. The road passed through today’s Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Henan and Xinjiang provinces in China, before moving into Central Asia, Russia and even down south towards the Indian Subcontinent.

At the Taklimakan Desert, the route divided into north and south roads so as to avoid the vast desert. Just after Dunhuang, in Lop Nor, one route went to the north in the direction of the Tian Shan Mountains to Korla, whereas the other branch went south towards the Kunlun Mountains, to Khotan before both routes reconvened at Kashgar, where the route splintered off in various directions before leaving China altogether.

The most common routes in the Silk Road are the Northern Route, which refers to the road going from Kashgar into Central Asia, and the Southern refers to the one which goes South in China towards India via Karakorum, which sweeps back up again to meet the Northern Route in today’s Turkmenistan.

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