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The Silk Road 07 April 2017 22 6749

Language of the Silk Road. Open for business: modern etiquette in China.

From the 2nd century BC onwards, the great Silk Road was a vital trade route that provided a link between Eurasian countries. It began during China’s Han dynasty and eventually stretched all the way to Rome. Throughout its 17 centuries of existence, it played a crucial role in enabling cultural interaction between nations and peoples all over the continents. As well as establishing economic ties, it also facilitated the exchange between countries of knowledge, religious practice, architectural styles, art, philosophy and traditions.

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Modern Chinese culture has been heavily influenced by centuries of trade with neighbouring countries. Today, there are still sites in China that preserve the history of the Silk Road and the country’s role in it. Tang West Market Museum in the city of Xi'an marks the ancient starting point of the Silk Road and displays relics unearthed from what used to be a major centre for international trade. The Silk Route Museum in the city of Jiuquan celebrates the first ever customs checkpoint in history. This city served as an outpost on China’s border with unforgiving and perilous nomadic lands. Meanwhile, a network of grottos called the Mogao Caves bears witness to Buddhism arriving and thriving in China.

Related: From tiny village to mighty metropolis - China's hidden mega-city

Today, China remains true to the well-established tradition of cultural exchange with its neighbours. 2016-2017 are dedicated to furthering Russo-Chinese relations and bilateral media ties. The history of collaboration between the two countries dates back as far as 400 years, when religious missionaries crossed the borders to introduce the other side to their homeland’s rich cultural practices.

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