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Home Silk Road Travel Guide Discover the Silk Road: Top 10 Goods Traded on the Silk Road

Discover the Silk Road: Top 10 Goods Traded on the Silk Road

The Silk Road offers a unique travel experience through diversified landscapes, ideas, cultures, and, most intriguingly, the goods that were traded. When you start a Silk Road tour, you’ll find quite a lot of treasures that once flowed between continents, each with its own story and significance. Here are ten notable items that were traded on the Silk Road.


1. Silk: the Fabric of Nobles

Xi’an, known for its Terracotta Warriors and Horses, is the starting point of the Silk Road as well as the original place of silk, one of the remarkable goods traded on the Silk Road. The namesake of the Silk Road, silk was admired for its softness, sheen, and durability and was highly famed in ancient Rome. Visiting local silk workshops, you’ll marvel at the process of silk-making on your Silk Road tours to Xi’an in China.

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Silk Road Products - Silk
Silk Road Products Silk

2. Spices: Savory Treasures

Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and peppers were also frequently traded goods on the Silk Road. They traveled from the East Indies and India to the Mediterranean. Often used for culinary purposes, they were also applied for medicinal and religious practices. A visit to the vibrant spice markets in Istanbul and Turkey offers a sensory journey through the flavors on your Silk Road tours.


3. Precious Stones and Gems: Jewels of the Earth

Precious stones were items on the Silk Road trade as well. They were not just ornamental but also symbols of power. As for the currency, people mainly traded with gold or silver coins. In the heart of Central Asia, there are vibrant bazaars where traders on the Silk Road once bartered exquisite stones and gems like lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, rubies from Burma, and jade from China. Make a trip there and discover the local craftsmanship.

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4. Tea: the Cultural Essence

First cultivated in China, tea became a beloved beverage that spread westward along the Silk Road. It gained popularity in Central Asia, the Middle East, and eventually Europe. To learn more about this specialty on your China Silk Road tours, follow the tea trails and visit tea plantations and tea houses in China. Besides, you can participate in a tea ceremony and learn about the different varieties of tea that have been enjoyed for centuries along the Silk Road. Read more about Tea along the Silk Road


5. Porcelain: the Art of Elegance

Known for its delicacy and durability, Chinese porcelain was highly appreciated in Europe and the Middle East with its intricate designs and craftsmanship. It is a combination of practical use and artistic beauty. Hence, it must be a wonderful Silk Road tour for you to visit porcelain museums and workshops to see artisans creating delicate and beautifully decorated porcelain.

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Silk Road Products - Porcelain
Silk Road Products Porcelain

6. Paper: the Medium of Knowledge

When it comes to what was traded on the Silk Road, paper should be on the list. The invention of paper revolutionized communication and literacy, spreading knowledge far and wide, and the trade of paper through the Silk Road trade route made all these happen worldwide. Travel to the ancient city of Dunhuang in China where you can explore the Mogao Caves and see the early use of paper for recording religious manuscripts in person.

Recommended China Silk Road Tours including Dunhuang


7. Cotton and Textiles: Weaving Connections

Cotton and textiles were also important goods traded on the Silk Road, and they were used to make clothing, tapestries, and more. Typically, cotton and textiles can be found especially in the textile markets of Bukhara and Uzbekistan where these commodities were traded extensively. Marvel at the vibrant patterns and colors, and perhaps purchase a beautifully woven textile as a souvenir.


8. Metals: the Backbone of Civilization

Metals such as gold, silver, and iron were also representative commodities in the Silk Road trades, which were used for coinage, jewelry, as well as tools and weapons. By the way, you can visit archaeological sites and museums in places like Bukhara and Tashkent to see relics of ancient metallurgical practices.


9. Glassware: Fragile Charm

Being one of the most valuable things traded on the Silk Road, glassware was highly valued in the East, particularly by the Roman Empire and later Islamic artisans. The exchange of glass-making techniques led to innovations and the creation of exquisite glass items both for practical use and decorative purposes. By the way, cities like Aleppo and Damascus demonstrate a wide range of ancient glass workshops where you can gain insight into the artistry and trade of glassware along the Silk Road.


10. Horses: the Steeds of Empires

Horses played a very important role in the trade and transportation along the Silk Road, and they were also goods that were traded on the Silk Road, especially the robust breeds from Central Asia. Ferghana Valley is a great place to visit for its prized horse breeds. There, you will learn about the historical significance of the horses and their contribution as a bridge for ancient empires.

The above-mentioned were the best items traded on the Silk Road. Besides, Silk Road travelers also brought in and exported many other things along the trade routes of the Silk Road, such as cultures, religions, and ideas. Moreover, the China Silk Road tour takes you to explore the Silk Road’s history and culture as well as the trade of China’s silk, tea, and porcelain to other countries, never miss it.

Further Reading:

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