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Falling to 154 metres below sea level and rising to 7,400 metres above sea level, the routes touch great rivers, alpine lakes, crusty salt flats, vast deserts, snow-capped mountains and ‘fecund’ prairies.
De 33 gebieden die bij de route horen bestaan uit hoofdsteden en paleiscomplexen van meerdere rijken en Khan koninkrijken, handelsnederzettingen, boeddhistische grottempels, oude paden, posthuizen, passen, wachttorens, delen van de Chinese Muur, vestingwerken, graven en religieuze gebouwen.
The Tian-shan corridor is one section or corridor of this extensive overall Silk Roads network.
Extending across a distance of around 5,000 km, it encompassed a complex network of trade routes extending to some 8,700 km that developed to link Chang’an in central China with the heartland of Central Asia between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD, when long distance trade in high value goods, particularly silk, started to expand between the Chinese and Roman Empires.
In and around Chang’an, a succession of palaces reflect the power centre of the Chinese Empire over 1,200 years; while the cities of the Chuy valley are witness to the power centre of the Zhetysu region from the 9th to the 14th centuries and their organisation of the long distance trade.
The series of Buddhist pagodas and large, elaborate cave temples extending from Kucha (now Kuqa County) in the west to Luoyong in the east, record the eastward transmission of Buddhism from India via Karakorum, and demonstrate an evolution in the design of stupas as local ideas were absorbed.