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06 September 2006

The Great Silk Road guide. Map of the Silk Road

Silk Road trade routes
[...] On the way of the caravans there were rich settlements and towns - Merv (Turkmenistan); Bukhara, Samarkand, Urgench and Khiva (Uzbekistan); Otrar, Taraz and Chimkent (Kazakhstan); Dgul, Suyab, Novokent, Balasagun, Borskon, Tash-Rabat, Osh and Uzgen (Kyrgyzstan).

The first, the Southern branch, ran from Termez via Samarkand to Dushanbe's present location, along a tributary of Kyzyl-Su up to Alai and exited to the area of modern Irkishtam, where it switched direction towards Kashgar.

The second, the Fergana branch, led from Samarkand via Hodjent to Isfara, Kokand and Osh.

The third, Northern branch came from Zamin Rabat to Benkent (Tashkent) , Isfidjab (Chimkent), Taraz (Jambyl), Nuzket (Kara-Balta), and Balasugun (Burana). From there caravans traveled along the Boom Canyon to get to the area and further to China across the San-Tash range.

The caravan traffic proceeded at a slow pace. A good day's journey covered 8 farsahs (50 km), a not so good one 4 farsahs (25 km). The composition of the caravan trains varied. There are numerous records of some huge trains containing up to 10.000 beasts of burden. All along the route, caravan-sarais (meeting places) appeared at regular intervals[...]

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