Silk road start Buddhist monks in Kumbum monastery Qinghai China

Ancient silk road – follow the trader’s foot steps in Northern China

Silk road… follow the ancient footsteps.

Everybody knows the silk road. Different trading routes from the western part of Europe to the east all the way to the ancient capital of China Chang’an.

With some students, translators and teachers of MIADA I went to the northern part of China on a cultural trip. I visited Xi’ning, Kumbum Monastery, Qinghai lake, Zhang’ye, Dun’Huang, Mogao Caves, Liu’Yuan, Dun’Huang, Xi’an in 9 days.

Chongqing – Xining

Our start to follow the silk road was in Chongqing and a 1 day trip in the sleeping train to Xi’ning and is the capital of Qinghai province. And famous of the Buddhist culture and temples. I visited the Kumbum Monastery. One of the oldest temples (from the 13th / 14th century) around. Just 25 km outside Xining.

Xining – Qinghai lake

It took several hours by bus travel form Xining to Qinghai lake. It’s a like of historic importance. Not only in Chinese also in Tibetan and Mongolian culture. The silk road come here together in different trading routes. The lake is around 3000 meters above sea level. The culture around the lake feels more Mongolian / Tibetan culture. With the Gers (mongolian tents) around the lake and the special clothing.

Zhang’ye – Dun’Huang – Mogao caves

Unfortunately we didn’t saw the Zhang’ye colored rock formations because lack of time (I’ll return someday to see those formations). Spend one night in this city and experience the Hui culture and their food (muslim minority). The day after we went by bus to the edge of Inner Mongolia and visit the Gobi Desert and visit the Mogao Caves. These caves is together with Longmen caves and Yungang caves with a high historic value. Hundred of caves with different buddhist statues are a worth to see.

Liu’yuan – Dun’Huang – Xi’an

The day after we followed the ancient silk road to the first wall of China. These old remains are not like the 17th century great wall of China near Beijing. In the heart of the desert you see some piles of sand and rocks of such wall. The wall has been build to protect the silk road but also from the Mongol invasions in the north. After that we went to a filmset and we traveled back to Dun’Huang and took very late at night the sleeptrain to Xi’an. Xi’an is the first ancient city of the first empire of China.

Check here for the pictures


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