The Silk Road

Episode 01: Glories of Ancient Chang An
The Silk Road begins in Chang-An and ends in Chang-An. Once Chang-An was the largest city in the world in the 7th century. The Silk Road crew explore historical sites and cultures in Chang-An - the Great Wall, the incredible Clay Army, the amazing World's largest Tomb, hollowed Buddhist temple, the hidden underground murals of Princess Yong-tai, the evidences that religions such as Buddhism, Christianity and Muslim had been transferred to China via the Silk Road, etc.

Episode 02: A Thousand Kilometers beyond the Yellow River

The Silk Road crew leave Chan-An and reach the Yellow river. There they see huge water wheels, called Prince Zuo's wheels, used to irrigate farmlands. Then they show how the ancient traders could cross the Yellow river using a goat-skin raft. After crossing the Yellow river, they visit many historical sites along the Silk Road from the Liu-jia-Xia Valley Dam to the military castle, Jia-yu-guan: a giant Buddha at Bing-li-si, the forbidding He-xi Corridor, Zhang-ye city, the Nie-pan Buddha, The Su-nan Yu-gu Autonomous Region, and Jia-yu-guan.

Episode 03: The Art Gallery in the Desert

In this episode - The Art Gallery in the Desert, the Silk Road crew go to the Gobi Desert and look around the Mogao Caves at Dunhuang. The Mogao Caves consists of over 500 caves and is more than 30 miles in length. There are thousands of murals and statues in the caves from 366 AD, reflecting the cultural exchange that took place on the Silk Road.

Episode 04: The Dark Castle

The Silk Road crew travel to Khara-khoto from Ju-chang by cars and riding camels. A person of Tangut tribe tells a story about the last king of Khara-khoto - Batir. Khara-khoto was rich and prosperous before its ruins by the the Mongol invasion of the thirteenth century. The episode focuses on why and how the ancient city got ruined.

Episode 05: In Search of the Kingdom of Lou-Lan

The journey continues in search of the lost kingdom of Lou-Lan. The Silk Road crew leave Yan-guan for Lou-Lan on the west side of Lake Nop Nur in the Taklamakan Desert, accompanied with Chinese military people. They look around the Lake Lop Nur which is now dried up and has been vanishing into the sands of the desert. Through sandstorms of the desert, they arrive at the region of the legendary kingdom and find many archaeological objects - coins, Roman beads, written texts, and even mummified bodies.

Episode 06: Across the Taklamakan Desert

The Silk Road crew reach Miran discovered by British explorer Aurel Stein, Buddhist city, in southwest part of the Lou-Lan kingdom. Pictures in the mixture of Chinese and western culture are shown. And then they arrive at the oasis town of Cherchen, where they visit a family in Uyghur tribe and see the family's life and economy. And then they try to reach Niya across the Taklamakan Desert by camels. Niya was once a major commercial place on the Silk Road even though the place has been buried for long time into the sands of the desert.

Episode 07: Khotan-Oasis of Silk and Jade

This episode tries to introduce local cultures and industries in the region of Khotan, an oasis town in the southwest part of the Taklamakan Desert and largely populated by Uyghurs. It starts with a camel caravan bringing big chunks of jade down from the Kun-Lun Mountains. This Kun-Lun Mountains has been a main place to collect jade in China. Some jade products like a jade armor suit are shown. Through the Silk Road, jade as well as silk were carried: jade to Chan-An; silk from Chang-An. And then it tells the famous tale of the "Silk Princess" who smuggled silkworms out of China and the silk industry - weaving and spinning, in the region.

Episode 08: A Heat Wave Called Turfan

The Silk Road crew explore the hottest region on the Silk Road - Turfan, once called Land of Fire: Mud lake below sea level; people's life in the hot weather - sleeping outside room; reddish mountains known as Fire Mountains; its local economy - grape harvest and drying grapes; and underground water supply system - Karez. And also they take us a journey to Gaochang, an ancient oasis town on the Silk Road: ruins of the town; paintings and artifacts showing the cultures of Gaochang.

Episode 09: Through the Tian Shan Mountains by Rail

In this episode, the Silk Road crew travel from Turfan to Korla by train, through the Tian Shan Mountains. On the way of their journey, they experience how difficult camel travel over the mountain passes would have been for historic Silk Road travelers. And they visit some historical sites on the journey: fortifications built during Tang dynasty; a Mongolian tribe living in high Tian Shan Mountains; and ruins of Buddhist caves at the outskirts of Yanqi (Karashahr), an oasis town on Yanqi plain.

Episode 10: Journey into Music: South Through the Tian Shan Mountains

The Silk Road crew reach Kucha, used to be called "Qiuzi". It was a prosperous place and was an ancient Buddhist kingdom. Now Kucha is famous for two things - music and fresh fruits. They find people in Kucha enjoy music and dancing everywhere: farmers sing harvesting crops and processing them; Kucha people enjoy dancing with music after finishing harvest. They try to present why Kucha people enjoy music in everyday life so much with historical evidences. They visit Buddhist caves near Kucha and find paintings and artifacts related to music: a wooden box with paintings of ancient "orchestra" in bright colors; paintings of angels playing musical instruments.

Episode 11: Where Horses Fly like the Wind

In this episode, the Silk Road crew take a journey along the north Tian Shan route of the Silk Road. They arrive at Hami by train from Xian, and there they take a journey by cars along the north Tian Shan route. On the way, it is narrated, "The north Tian Shan road stats from Hami, passes through Barkol, and crosses the lli River, and ends in Rome". Their journey ends in the border between China and Kazakhstan, just before crossing the lli River. During the journey, they meet Kazakhs, a nomadic tribe, near Lake Barkol. There they experience the ethnic group's culture - wedding ceremony, making cheese using horse's milk, and sports like sheep catching. And then they visit a yearly market opened near Lake Sairam and find ethnic diversity - people are from many different ethnic groups including Uyhurs, Kazakhs and Uzbeks.

Episode 12: Two Roads to the Pamirs

The Silk Road crew take a journey from Kashgar, via Tashkurgan in the Pamir Plateau, to the border between China and Pakistan on the the Karakoram Highway, along the Silk Road route from China to Pakistan. The half of the episode is devoted to people's life in Kashgar including religion and culture. There live many different ethnic groups together in Kashgar such as Uzbeks, Uyhurs, Tajiks and Kyrgyz. Most of them are in Muslim. The Silk Road crew arrive at Kashgar at the end of Ramadan and find thousands of people praying in a mosque and also enjoying the celebration in streets. Then they explore local workshops and craftsman stores - making jewelry, musical instruments, and making pots using metals. And also they see modern truck caravan from Gilgit in Pakistan arrive, and trade: dried fruits and nuts, nylon scarves, medicine etc from Pakistan; silk, ceramics, tea, etc from China. Their journey continues to Tashkurgan in the Pamir Plateau and ends in the border between China and Pakistan on the Karakoram Highway.


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