“Travel west with great aspiration to chase ancient trace in the solitary smoke, desert and the setting sun; camel bell, ancient path and the Silk Road, we can still hear the Tang and Han style from Hu Horses.” Today after a thousand years, people can still sense the prosperity of the Silk Road in those days.
The Silk Road is not only the passing prosperity filling all sorts of feelings in people’s mind, but also has more realistic values and ambitious future. Carding over 2000 years of the Silk Road trade, you must be surprised.
In the Silk Road History, the silk was traded for the longest time and was in the top of value chain, which is the primary cause that the Germany historical geographer Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen called it the Silk Road. In the final analysis, silk was an important trade symbol, representing the long-term prosperous and booming trade between Asia and Europe.
Legend goes that in 53 BC, ancient Rome consul Crassus led army to battle with Parthians at Carrhae. In the battle emergency time, Parthians suddenly unfolded colorful silk army flags which is dazzlingly beautiful under midday sunlight. Warworn Roman Legion were dazzled and in havoc and finally disastrously defeated. Some western scholars thought those silk army flags were the earliest silk products seen by Romans. After Carrhae battle, silk was soon penetrated into Romans’ social life.
The silk invented by Chinese is the great contribution to world material culture and textile technology. In a rather long period after the Han Dynasty, China is the only country that can produce silk in the world.
It was exactly the great demand of westerners on silk that supported the initial prosperity of the Silk Road and finally connected the channel between Europe and Asia.
The Land Silk Road means the ancient commercial trade starting from ancient Chang’an, China, passing through Gansu, Hexi Corridor and today’s Xinjiang Region, connecting Asia, Europe and Africa and is the basic artery formed after Emperor Wu of Han dispatching Zhang Qian to mission to the Western Regions.
With China politics and economic center gradually shifting to the south after Tang Dynasty middle period and the progress of navigation and shipbuilding technology, sea route plays an increasingly important role in transportation and gradually replaces land route to become the primary channel for trade between the east and the west. The Marine Silk Road centers on the South China Sea and Guangzhou, Quanzhou, Mingzhou, Hangzhou and Yangzhou are all the important ports of foreign trade, especially Guangzhou, as the worldwide grand port in Song and Yuan Dynasties, was also the port city firstly setting up the Bureau for Foreign Shipping.
In fact, China has never been a simple land country. Zhen He’s travelling to the west is just a peak of China overseas trade. Starting from the middle period of 2 BC century, Emperor Wu of Han had sent a large number of people to travel overseas to the South Seas. For ever 2000 years, no matter official or civil, active or passive, China marine trade has never been interrupted. Such lasting and continuous oversea trade is also rare in world history.
Today’s the Belt and Road is just the modern upgrading version of the trade prosperity and interconnection of the Silk Road. The Belt and Road integrates the Land Silk Road and Marine Silk Road , enabling the silk road economic and trade development to firstly jump out of the geographical limitation of the ancient Silk Road, focus on the geopolitical contact of marine and land broad space and develop a whole new economic geography characteristics.
At present, there are at least 8 block trains travelling between China and Europe on the Eurasia Land Bridge. The Yixinou block train setting out at the end of 2014 passes from China famous small commodity market Yiwu to Spain Madrid. The whole journey is 13000 kilometers, travelling 21 days. It passes through Western China, Kazakhstan, Russia and Europe whole territory, which is the longest distance of the world freight train.
In the Belt and Road wholly new geography layout, China High-speed Rail technology became a resounding visiting card. China High-speed Rail started to plan High-speed Railway network from the 1990's and has created the China self-owned brand that is sufficient to compete in global market. Indonesia Yawan High-speed Rail just laid a foundation and started construction, which is the first program that China High-speed Rail “walks out” comprehensively from technical standard, survey and design, engineering construction, equipment manufacturing, material supply to operations management and talent training, etc. and has landmark meaning.
In the road connection, remote route becomes convenient. Some natural barrier between Asia and Europe continents will constantly disappear. Over thousands of years of ups and downs, the long ancient road stretches till now. The Belt and Road declares the past glory of the Asia and Europe and also reveals the rule of creating glory. The historic and reality characteristics coming from the Silk Road Trade is its enduring charm. The development of China and world has stepped into the new Silk Road era together.