One of the most outstanding events of historical and cultural progress of peoples of the world was the worldwide known development of silk breeding and silk spinning after opening the Great Silk Road.
It’s known that China was the home of silk production and silk-related handicrafts. For a long time China was the only country producing silk material valued over gold all over the world.
Little by little evidence of silk production appeared in other countries, but it became widespread since the 2nd century BC after Udi, the emperor of China, had signed the agreement with Davan to open “silk road”. Thus, the Silk Road through Davan, i.e. Fergana Valley, opened in the 220s BC. Having studied the significant role silk played in Europe (Europeans used silk material as currency to pay tributes, for presents, as pledge to prevent wars) Ferdinand fon Rihtgofen, the geography scientist of the 19th c, was the first to introduce the name “The Great Silk Road”.
The Great Silk Road significantly contributed to the process of formation and improvement of trade and cultural relations among China, India, Iran, Central Asian, Near Eastern, and Mediterranian countries. The Great Silk Road started near the town Sian, situated by the middle flow of the Huanhe River, and ran through Lanchzhou in direction of Dunhuan. There the road split into two roads: northwestern and southwestern. The northwestern road lay through Turfan to the coast of Tarim and from there to Kashgar and Davan. Further it proceeded to Samarkand, the capital of Sogd, and to Margiyan (Merv). The southwestern road lay through Hutan, Yarkent, and Pamir mountains to Zariasp (Balh), the capital of Bactria. There the south-western road split into two roads: one led to India while the other proceeded to the West and in Merv reunited with the north-western road from where it ran through Nisa, the capital of Parfia, Gekatompil, the capital of Iran, the town Apaliya and Ekbatan (Hamadan) reaching Mesopotamy and further through the towns Bagdad and Ktesifon along the right bank of the Dazhly (Tiger) river northward leading to Damask through the towns Nisibin and Antiohia; from Damask it ran through the towns Tira, Kuddus, and further to Egypt.
Besides silk different other kinds of fabric, carpets, mirrors, metal goods, jewelry, medicines, horses, and camels from Bactria and Davani, juicy and the most delicious fruits from Central Asia, books and treatises of contemporary and classical scientists, etc. were transported along the famous road.
In the 3d and 4th c the Great Silk Road was the main path Chinese Buddhists took while making their pilgrimage to India.
In the 10th c as a result of expanded trade relations among China, Arab Caliphate, and Bysanty the international importance of the Great Silk Road became even greater. But as a result of the great geographical discoveries and increased number of sea routes in the 15th c the Great Silk Road lost its fame.
Rebuilding the ancient traditions of the Great Silk Road on the eve of the 21 c, Republic of Uzbekistan jointly with UNESCO aim at revival of the former fame of Uzbek cities as linking Europe and Asia.