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the silk road is the name for the trade route between the mediterranean sea and china. the silk road is named for the trade route that linked china and the west for much of the first millennium ad. This is when chinese silk was the chief commodity of exchange along a transcontinental route, travelled by bactrian camel caravan, that traversed the mountains and deserts of in the center of asia. It was persian initiative that secured this route. During its golden age, in the first millennium, this fabled network was an early link between the world’s great civilizations, greek, roman, persian, indian and chinese.

at the beginning of the sixth century bce, the trade route started in babylon, from where it passed through baghdad and egbatana (hamedan) and modern saveh. From saveh, the road continued to ray near Tehran.

further to the east, it passed through parthia and reached hecatompylus (šahr-e qûmes near dâmghân) and susia (tous near mashhad). Here the road forked. The southern branch went through the arian capital artacoana (herat) to kapisa (qandahar) in arachosia, and from there either to the southeast to the lower indus or to the northwest to gandara (the valley of the kabul) and the punjab.

from its birth before christ, through the heights of the tang dynasty, until its slow demise six to seven hundred years ago, the silk road has had a unique role in foreign trade and political relations, stretching far beyond the bounds of asia itself. It has left its mark on the development of civilizations on both sides of the continent.

due to this significant role of silk road, many mosques, inns(carevanserai), temples constructed in different cities:

Yazd is a desert city that was a major centre along the silk road and is the centre of zoroastrianism, iran’s state religion before the arrival of islam and a belief which predates christianity. Over 10,000 believers still reside in the city today. Here the towers of silence on a hilltop was the traditional zoroastrian burial ground, where bodies were left to be eaten by vultures. The zoroastrian fire temple has a flame that has burned for over 1,500 years. Yazd is also renowned for its wind towers or badgirs which captured breezes and cooled living quarters below. The old town of yazd is perfect for exploring on foot amidst the clay brick houses, ancient islamic buildings and labyrinthine of narrow alleyways. Other notable attractions include the jameh mosque with its twin 48 meter minarets, the doulat garden and the amir chakhmaq mosque.

Isfahan is iran’s pearl, one of the best places in the islamic world and one of the great destinations in world travel. Although it dates back to the beginning of the islamic period, isfahan reached its peak under shah abbas the great when he moved his capital here at the beginning of the 17th century. Isfahan’s most impressive site is the enormous and spectacular royal square or imam square, over 80,000 square meters and the second largest city square in the world, which is one of the world heritage sites of unesco. The square, built as a royal polo ground and once home to entertainers, preachers and silk road caravans, is bordered on each side by four monumental buildings. The mosque of sheikh lotfollah is renowned for its beautiful dome and exquisite tile work. The ali qapu palace was developed from an earlier timurid palace and was used by the shah to receive guests and foreign dignitaries. It is renowned for its superb plaster works and paintings and has a balcony overlooking the square. The magnificent royal mosque and the portico of qaysarieh complete the historical masterpieces. The imperial bazaar leads from the square to the north, a labyrinth of alleyways selling carpets, sweets and spices, tiles, jewellery and bright clothes. Other buildings of note include vank cathedral in the armenian quarter of jolfa, chehel sotun palace also known as 40 columns palace due to the reflection of its 20 columns in waters of its fountain and the shaking minarets of minar-e jonban. The historic bridges of the zayandeh river include si o se pol (the bridge of 33 arches) and the khaju bridge.

Tehran the capital of iran is a huge, sprawling metropolis of some 15 million people and its main attractions are its numerous imperial palaces and museums. The sa’d abad palace and museum complex includes the white palace, the former summer palace of the pahlavi royal family, which highlights the opulent lifestyle of the shah. golestan palace comprises several buildings and a beautiful garden and was constructed in the 19th century by the qajar rulers which is recently joined the unesco world heritage sites. The national museum of iran houses a huge and impressive collection of historical art facts from around the country with one building detailing ancient persian history and another dealing with the islamic period. The carpet museum contains over 100 exquisite persian rugs while other museums of note include the national jewellery museum, the glass and ceramics museum and the islamic museum.

Tabriz was one of the most important cultural centers on the silk road and its bazaar complex is a reminder of this period and traditional commercial centers in iran and unesco world heritage site. Tabriz was the capital city of the safavid kingdom from the 13th to the 16th centuries and remained an important commercial hub until the end of the 18th century.

you can enjoy the fascinating monuments in this tour: