1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What Was the Silk Road?


Caravans like this one carried tons of goods between China and Turkey along the Silk Road.

Camel caravan at Dunhuang, China along the Silk Road

Robert Van Der Hilst / Stone via Getty Images

Silk Road: a series of trade routes across Central Asia stretching some 4,000 miles (6,400 km). The Silk Road linked the ancient capital of China, Chang'an (now called Xi'an) with Istanbul and the Mediterranean world.

Trade first travelled the entire length of the route around 114 B.C., when China's Han Dynasty began to send trade goods west. In addition to silk, such luxuries as spices, ivory, porcelain and gold flowed along this east/west exchange way.

Pronunciation: "sihlk rode"
Also Known As: Silk Route

"The Silk Road fell into disuse in the 15th century A.D., when easier sea routes were established between Europe and East Asia."

Asian History Glossary: A-E | F-J | K-O | P-S | T-Z

  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Asian History
  4. Asian History Glossary
  5. Glossary, S
  6. What Was the Silk Road

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.