Silk Road is one of the most famous trade routes since the ancient times. The Silk Road extended over thousands of miles and was used for transporting goods, silk, satin and luxuries. Silk was the main item to be transported along the Silk Route.
Ibn Battuta while returning from Tabriz to Baghdad travelled on the Silk Road. Tabriz was the first city that opened its gates to the Mongols and became an important trading centre.
The Silk Road was originally a trade route within China, which later expanded under the rule of the Han Dynasty. The route covered ancient China, ancient India, Asia Minor and Mediterranean. The silk trade route also played a significant role in the development of relations between the different regions. The trade between the east and west fell in the 3rd century with the fall of the Han Dynasty. It started functioning again under the rule of Emperor Wu Di and by the year 1400 it stopped function as a trade route for silk.
The northern route of the Silk Road started in Chang'an, China, present day Xi'an. This route moved to the Chines province Gansu from Shaanxi. From here it split into three routes, which met again at Kashgar to split again.
The southern route was mainly a single route originating from China and traversing Karakoram. In the modern days also the route remains as an international paved road connecting China and Pakistan. This route crossed high mountains passing through Pakistan, Afghanistan and joined the northern route in Merv. The route then followed the straight west line passing northern Iran, Mesopotamia, and northern Syrian Desert.
A further route led to north through Anatolia or south to North Africa. Another branch of the road passed through Herat crossing the Persian Gulf across to Petra towards Alexandria and other ports along the Mediterranean.