The third silk route stands up
Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
632Trip End Dec 31, 2011
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Always on the fringe of the great empire, it has maintained relationships with China's neighbours in south-east Asia, particularly in the Mekong basin. And the trade links have extended across Tibet into India.
Now researchers are finding links through archaeological findings, that Yunnan is something of a melting pot, or as they call it, a zone of interaction. Why? How?
Dubbed the "Southwest Silk Road", the trade route had at its core Yunnan. Lots of tea, lots of gold, lots of silver, lots of minerals like tin, lead and copper meant Yunnan was a resource-rich area.
Scholars in the past have focused on the other silk routes, but now, they are finding more evidence about the importance of Yunnan in early Eurasian communication.
What I find interesting today is that those old routes are being revived with new and modern infrastructure: not only roads and highways, but talk now of a new route conntecting Asia and Europe through many nations. And rail links too.
Though if and when they do complete these trans-national routes, they won't be trading horses or silver or cowrie shells.