The Silk Road between China and Europe is widely recognized as the most ancient and prolific axe in the world and has impacted all the countries it crossed and their neighbours.
This ancient network of protected terrestrial trade routes, formally established during the Han Dynasty of China, linked the regions of the ancient world through commerce between 130 BC and 1720. China now plans to revive the route.
Although the silk was initially the main trade, other goods, knowledge, ideas or religions have travelled from one side to the other for the past 2000 years. Innovations such as the paper and printing blocks were brought back to Europe and improved by Gutenberg, which will dramatically impact the level of education.
Marco Polo was the first to leave a detailed chronicle of his travel experience; nowadays one would cite the stories of Citroen’s yellow cruise or Ella Maillart.
While in ancient times the journey from Venice to Xian on foot would easily take more than a year, nowadays it’s a 10 hours flight. We can only imagine what the caravans had to endure when travelling that route; by comparison even the crowded economy class of an airline is a luxury trip.
During the start of 21st century, with the decline of Europe’s economies and the rise of Asia’s economies, the centre of gravity has moved towards the Orient making this axe even more important.
Innokick’s Summer Academy at the Shanghai Tech University is a contribution to the modern Silk Road and being part of such an adventure is a privilege.