Nowadays Silk Road is an arising tourist route, but actually in 2000 years ago it was opened as a trading route. And when mentioning Silk Road Cities in China, Dunhuang, Kashgar, Turpan, and Urumqi may come to one’s mind first. So when planning a Silk Road tour, these cities are considered as the must see ones. Indeed these cities are among the crucial spots along ancient Silk Road, but in fact along the Silk Road there are much more cities. Some of them survived from history, and many small cities in today’s desert area disappeared due to either wars, natural disaster, land deterioration, or climate change. Some ruins of disappeared cities were discovered and open to tourist, and more of them are still sleeping in deep desert. So the existed cities and city ruins become the hot attractions that attract tourist home and abroad to ancient and mysterious Silk Road. Then if one want to explore the complete Silk Road in China, where should he start? The answer is Xi’an. Only with a tour start from Xian and going westward, one could explore the complete Silk Road.
Xian is best known as hometown of Terracotta Warriors and Horses and as capital city of 13 dynasties and kingdoms. In fact the city is also the starting point of Silk Road, an ancient trading route. The trading route is named so because the most famous goods on this route is silk. In the West Han Dynasty (202BC-8AD), Emperor Wudi sent a diplomat Mr Zhangqian to Dayuezhi (an ancient nation in Mid Asia) to seek chance for military cooperation. Though Dayuezhi refuse Han Dynasty’s invitation and the diplomat was once arrested by enemy, he took the chance record geography fact and folk culture of area he passed. And one the way back to homeland, the diplomat bought some seldom seen goods, local products of Mid Asia, and cast technique. After tens of years the diplomat finally returned Xian (known as Changan in Han Dynasty) and offer what he brought to Emperor Wudi. The emperor was indeed surprised and decided to open a trading route connecting Changan and nations in far west. Since then the well known Silk Road came into being. And in the following centuries may nations along Silk Road flourished due to the active business activities. Dunhuang is the pearl along ancient Silk Road and Kashgar became a big trading hub. No matter where were those goods from, their final destination was all Changan, the largest and richest city in the world at that time.
Changan City was not only the final destination of these goods but also the dreamed city of travelers and merchants. Many travelers and merchants from West settled and married in Changan, the starting point of Silk Road. These outcomers settled in west part of Changan City and finally this area became the West Market, the best place to buy goods transferred from West. Today nearby the West Bus Station there are groups of Statues of Western Merchants. These statues are called Starting Point of Silk Road. These travelers in ancient time can be regarded as the first tourists of Silk Road tour.