Cultural Travel and the Silk Road

For a textile lover, there is no other place on earth that offers a thread to the ancient silk road than western China. Here, in the Taklamakan desert, are remnants of what was once a vital cultural center. In places such as Urumqi, mummies from thousands of years ago still have their textiles intact. Cultural travel and the silk road meet in this very remote place. A professor from Philadelphia traveled to this region of China for some 20 years to explore the mummies of Urumqu. The Penn Museum orchestrated an exhibit of the mummies of Urumqu that traveled to Los Angeles and other cities. Here is one of the illuminating lectures on the silk road.



If you are thinking of traveling to western China, this article in the Herald Sun is wonderful in illuminating the areas of the “Silk Road” by rail. Anthony Dennis writes:

t Urumqi, there’s a renowned exhibition of ancient Chinese mummies at the museum but I prefer to view the living citizens of this city and hire a driver to take me to Urumqi’s intriguing Muslim quarter.

The Chinese, in a gesture to the city’s Islamic population, built a marketplace with a centrepiece replica Islamic minaret (complete with elevator) based on the original in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, further along the Silk Road.

Cultural travel and the silk road is a journey into an ancient time when Asians and Europeans mixed their cultural differences at the very beginning of the “silk road.” If you are going, check out all of the lectures from the symposium at the Penn Museum here. You may also read the wonderful article by Anthony Dennis in the Sun here.


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