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Make sure you drop by the Silk Road travel tips page as well, for more everyday but equally vital information. If you have a particular question about the Silk Road, pop over to the myWanderlust Forum where our knowledgeable community are ready to spring into action and share all that they know. Or check out the questions that have already been asked about the Silk Road. The answer to yours might already be there. Silk Road travel guide — Wanderlust team. Silk Road travel tips — Wanderlust team.

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Our Trip Finder can help you find adventures along the Silk Road. Handmade On The Silk Road is a three-part series about traditional crafts along the ancient trade route of the Silk Road. Each film follows a day in the working life of a weaver, woodcarver and potter in China, Uzbekistan and Iran. Camels on the Silk Road Shutterstock. Wanderlust team 08 May. Woman contemplating Samarkand Shutterstock Looking for inspiration? More information 3 stories from the Silk Road Uzbekistan: Please refresh the page and retry.

H istory is full of long and legendary highways but none — frankly — come close to the Silk Road. The world was cleft into east and west in the Middle Ages. But long before, the Silk Road — which has existed in one form or another since the fourth century BC — breached any such divide. The Silk Road was not a road, but a network.

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The central caravan tract followed the Great Wall, climbed the Pamir Mountains into Afghanistan, and crossed to the Levant. Along the way were spurs branching off to river ports, caravanserai, oases, markets and pilgrimage centres. Journeys demanded meticulous preparation: Many traders used sections, much as Americans slip on and off freeways to get from A to B. But the mightiest and most power-hungry set off on epic crossings worthy of the Silk Road.

Genghis Khan led his Mongol hordes down a central branch, looping round the Caspian Sea, at the start of the 13th century. Marco Polo used a southerly route to travel to Persia, Tibet and China at the end of the same century. During the next century, the Black Death made its own fatal transit, ultimately wiping out as many as million Eurasians. What, though, remains of the original Silk Road? Archaeologists concur that the route dwindled in the midth century, when the Ottoman Empire boycotted trade with China.

Since then, just about all the nations that straddle the network have warred, with each other or within themselves, and silk, paper and gunpowder have given way to opium, mobile phones and machine guns. Capitalism has arguably been more transformative than Communism. Every other site is marked by a giant computer image of what will be there. Nonetheless, away from the Soviet brutalism and the shiny new cities, you can still feel something of the timeless, adventurous pull of the Silk Road.

Or saddle up a horse. Achieving basic skills in Ebru takes at least two years. The tradition is practiced without barrier of age, gender or ethnicity, and plays a significant role in the empowerment of women and the improvement of community relationships. The collective art of Ebru encourages dialogue through friendly conversation, reinforces social ties and strengthens relations between individuals and communities. The number of women showing interest in the art of marbling has been increasing in recent years.

Ebru, Turkish art of marbling was inscribed in 9. Below are the properties inscribed in the World Heritage List, which are in close relation with the silk roads. This region of Anatolia was conquered by the Turks at the beginning of the 11th century. In —29 Emir Ahmet Shah founded a mosque, with its adjoining hospital, at Divrigi. The mosque has a single prayer room and is crowned by two cupolas. The highly sophisticated technique of vault construction, and a creative, exuberant type of decorative sculpture — particularly on the three doorways, in contrast to the unadorned walls of the interior — are the unique features of this masterpiece of Islamic architecture.

Why you must travel the Silk Road in your lifetime

With its strategic location on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic events for more than 2, years. From the 13th century to the advent of the railway in the early 20th century, Safranbolu was an important caravan station on the main East—West trade route.

During its apogee in the 17th century, Safranbolu's architecture influenced urban development throughout much of the Ottoman Empire. The square Mosque with its single great dome and four slender minarets, dominates the skyline of the former Ottoman capital of Edirne.

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Sinan, the most famous of Ottoman architects in the 16th century, considered the complex, which includes madrasas Islamic schools , a covered market, clock house, outer courtyard and library, to be his best work. The interior decoration using Iznik tiles from the peak period of their production testifies to an art form that remains unsurpassed in this material.

The site illustrates the creation of an urban and rural system establishing the Ottoman Empire in the early 14th century. The property embodies the key functions of the social and economic organization of the new capital which evolved around a civic centre. These include commercial districts of khans, kulliyes religious institutions integrating mosques, religious schools, public baths and a kitchen for the poor, as well as the tomb of Orhan Ghazi, founder of the Ottoman dynasty. Below are the properties inscribed in the Tentative List, which are in close relation with the silk roads.

Alanya situated in the eastern part of the Gulf of Antalya is kms away from Antalya by the main highway. The peninsula of Alanya surrounded by city walls was named "Karakesion" during the Hellenistic period went under the hegomany of Romans and Byzantines, followed by the Seljuks. The present name of the town comes from Alaaddin Keykubat, who did great service to the development of the town. Inside the Alanya castle there exist a Seljuk cistern, a Byzantine church, the Keykubat Sultan Palace and the ruins of a Seljuk bath, completed with the traditional urban texture.

The castle extends down to the sea and encloses a medieval dockyard that is guarded by a 33 meter high octagonal tower of red stone and brick. Seljuk Caravanserais on the route from Denizli to Dogubeyazit The caravanserais, a new architectural type with social function developed in central Asia by the Karakhanids and Ghaznavids passed into Anatolian Turkish architecture.


The institution of caravanserais has its most variations in Seljuk Anatolia, using the forms of Anatolian stone architecture. These buildings offering travellers in mountain and desert all the possibilities and comforts of civilization of the period each effectively a social foundation subject to an organized and continuous state programme, appear to present a typical characteristic of Turkish society, Denizli-Dogubeyazlt Route consists of about 40 Hans about which 10 are very well preserved.

They have their origins in the nomadic lifestyles of the Turkish tribes of Central Asia. By the 7th century, these simple dormitories had developed into more complex establishments called ribat, a word that may be translated as "inn. The culmination of this line of development is the massive caravanserais that the Seljuks built in Anatolia.

Caravanserais were huge accommodations, facilities that provided shelter, food and drink for a caravan's full complement of people, animals, and cargo and could also handle its needs for maintenance, treatment, and care. They were arranged along trade routes at intervals that were calculated in view of the amount of distance that a caravan could be expected to cover in a single day. This distance was called menzil in Turkish, a word that means, among other things, "journey" in its archaic sense of "a day's travel". On the basis of the examples remaining and other evidence, this menzil seems to have averaged about 30 kilometer the equivalent, under normal conditions, of a six-hour journey to which another two hours had to be added for arduous travel in regions like deserts.

Caravanserais or their simpler cousins, khans, were always located to that a caravan could be sure of reaching one by the day's end. Architecture and function Architecture is always determined by climatic and environmental conditions but never more so than in the case of caravanserais, to which the problem of security had to be added. Caravanserais in the eastern part of Anatolia for example were built like small, square castles heavily fortified with thick walls of stone. Nevertheless there were certain things that every caravanserai had to have.

There were certain to be baths, a masjid, a cistern o fountain, an infirmary, a cookshop, a place for the storage of provisions, and shops. Among the personnel there would certainly be a wainman, a blacksmith, a money-changer, a tailor, a cobbler, a physician, a veterinary, and so on. About Anatolian caravanserais are known. Of these, eight are called sultanhan literally "sultanis khan" and were all built in the 13 th century.

Those constructed in the early part of the century generally conford to a standard plan of a courtyard and enclosed arens covering the same amount of ground. Seven of these building bean identifying inscriptions and one does not. Some of them are still referred to by the name sultanhan who others acquired local names to distinguish them. Agzikara Han is probably one of the most important "ordinary" khans and the degree of its workmanship approaches that of the royal khans.

It is another of those caravanserais whose massive portal and rowers give it the appearance of a fortified castle. The double portal, free-standing masjid and domed hall, as well as the quality of its architecture, are all worthy of a true royal khan.

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  • The main portal is decorated with geometric patterns. Between the surmounting muqarnas and framing arches is a band of swastikas. The building was completed in Covering 3, square meters, it is the second-largest of the buildings of the group. All the distinguishing features of the Konya-Aksaray caravanserai are repeated here. The massive walls and supporting turret-towers give the building the appearance of a fortress. Konya a cradle of many civilizations, became a center of culture and politics during the period of Seljuks.

    During the 12 th and 13 th centuries the city acted as the capital of Seljuks and many public buildings, examples of Seljukian stone carving were built at that time.

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    Seljuks created a unique artistic world with cultural links reaching out from the Anatolian heartland to central Asia, the Middle East and the shores of the Mediterrannean and Konya is the significant example of this world. Mardin is a city in a rocky region in southeastern Anatolia.

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    The city is mainly medieval in origin and is situated on the slopes of a rocky hill, crowned by o fortress built on its citadel. This barren stoney region around Diyarbaklr and Mardin stretches as for as Sanliurfa and Gaziantep. The city as a whole with its traditional stone, religious and vernacular architecture and its terraced urban pattern is the best preserved example of Anatolian soil. Deyrulzafaran Monastery is one of the living religious center of Syriandacobites in Mardin, an impressive architectural complex in the Mesopotamian plain.

    The city of Ani, located on the high East Anatolian plateau, about forty two kilometers East of the city of Kars, was one of the most impressive settlements of the Medieval Period. Although there is little information regarding the foundation of the city of Ani, the region was settled during the Urartian periods in the first half of the first millennium BC. After successive disputes between the Greco-Romans and Parthian-Sassanian states of Persia, the region of Ani was captured by the Kamsarankan Dynasty who built a citadel and a palace there in the fifth century AD. Ani was conquered by the Arabs in the middle of the seventh century.

    After the battle between Arabs and the Kamsarakans, Ani was handed over to another Armenian dynasty: It was during this period, the inner walls of the city were constructed. With its new status, the city was enlarged and transformed from a fortress into a royal residence and capital of a kingdom. The king Smbat II built the second line of the fortifications. During the reign of King Gagik I , the city experienced a paramount prosperity for being the center of the cultural, religious and economic activity.

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    It was during this period the renowned architect Trdat built the Cathedral of Ani and round church mausoleum of St. Gregory of Gagik I. The town fell in to the Byzantines who reinforced the Citadel. In the city was conquered by Seljuks under the command of Alp Arslan. The impressive mosque of Manucehr which is the first mosque of the Anatolian plateau and the building known as Seljuk Palace located north of the city walls were built in this period. During the 12th and 13th centuries Ani changed hands several times.

    After the Mongol invasion in , Ani lost its importance as a commercial center. In the following years, the area remained in the realm of Karakoyunlus, Akkoyunlus and the Ottomans. Within the city walls, the citadel of Ani is the oldest and most prominent structure which is located on a small hill close a point where the two river beds meet. The small church with its quatrefoil cross plan dating back to 10th century is probably the earliest centrally planned church in the region. Many of the partially standing churches of Ani are centrally planned, even though various kinds of plans including cruciform, hexagonal and octagonal ones reflect the amazing variety of church plans.

    Most of these churches such as the Holy Apostles, St. Savoir, and the Church of the Shepherd, were built between the twelfth and thirteen centuries. The Cathedral of Ani is one of the most important buildings in the site. Its architect, Trdat, also participated in repairing the dome of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. There are also a great amount of dwellings and other civic buildings such as public baths, stores, aqueducts, bridges and roads as Ani was one of the unique medieval cities densely populated.

    In the middle of 13th century, Genoeses were actively trading all over Mediterranean and Black Sea. Genoeses were originally inhabitant of Genoa, the city and Mediterranean seaport in north-western Italy. It was the capital of Genoa Province and of Liguria region. In the eastern Mediterranean, Genoeses was greatly advanced by the Treaty of Nymphaeum with the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus, in exchange for the aid to the Byzantine reconquest of Constantinople, actually ousted the Venetians from the straits leading to the Black Sea. As general Genoeses had possessions from 11th century to 19th century for nearly eight centuries over Mediterranean and Black Sea.

    As the main passage between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, the Bosporus strait had a great commercial and strategic importance during the past. For this reason, numerous castles and fortresses were built on its shores. The fortress of Yoros is one of the most conspicuous of them. The first mention of the place is made by the ancient historian Herodotus who describes it as the worship place of Jason and the Argonauts on the road for Cholchis. Hieron was the gate to the Black Sea. Additionally, it acted as a spot from which all Black Sea navigational charts took their measurements and the crucial shelter from the numerous dangers involved in negotiating the winding Bosporus: