|Silk Road, most important premodern trade route linking China, Central Asia, Persia and western Asia, and Europe. A 19th-century German scholar named the network of trails the Silk Road for the precious Chinese cloth that was originally the most valuable and abundant commodity transported on it.
Although the Silk Road no longer exists as a trade route, sites along its course remain important tourist destinations. These sites include the towns of Dunhuang, Kashi, and Turpan, with their artistic and architectural treasures.
The name "Silk Road," introduced to the intrepid traveler's vocabulary over a century ago by the Swedish explorer Sven Hedin, conjures up images of desert caravans, lush oases, snow-capped mountains, and colorful markets where exotic goods change hands amid the cacophony of even more exotic languages. Where many destinations promise enchantment and adventure, travel on the Silk Road through China is one of the few that really delivers.|