The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads

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The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads is part of the Tentative list of China in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List. This site (or parts of it) has already been inscribed under Silk Roads WHS.

The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads includes the Land Route and Sea Route. The Land Route is the ancient trade route that starts from ancient Chang'an, the present-day Xi'an city and the center of politics, economy, and culture in a long period of ancient China. The Sea Route is the maritime trade route connecting the East and the West, distributed along the coastal lines and particularly represented by the sea port cities like Guangzhou, Quanzhou, Ningbo and Nanjing. The Silk Roads is an excellent example for coexisting, communication and melting of multi-cultures.

Map of The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

Community Reviews

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Zoë Sheng

Chinese-Canadian - 24-Oct-21 -

The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads (T) by Zoë Sheng

The "Chinese Section of the Silk Road" is a bit of an odd one. Many of the sites are already inscribed as part of the Silk Roads and it totally feels like China is trying to double dip here, even with the Chinese sites taking a slightly different attempt to inscribe - I think in the end the whole symbol of Silk Roads used as a trade route that brought religion, culture and ideas along with it. So rather than focus on what they are trying to inscribe, I'm going to look at the good portions on their list - today: Loulan.

Deep in the Lop Desert you can still find the ruins of this ancient kingdom - and by ruins I mean sand piles. It isn't well known, although Wikipedia states the British Museum has a wooden beam so maybe you have heard of it before after all. A "local" museum to find the remaining artifacts in in a town call Charklik which surely isn't on anyone's itinerary, and if you want to visit the remains you need to driver over the dunes with a 4x4. Afaik that is only done with a tour group with other 4WDs, although that may have changed. Getting into this area as a foreigner will also have plenty of police problems so be careful/aware of it. It's not just a Xinjiang thing but they are a little worried about anyone getting lost/stuck in the desert.

Loulan was more famous in China before, even had a postage stamp (see pic) but nowadays the place is in total ruins and inscription would make it on par of Abu Mena's rubble - and that's a stretch as well. They apparently even sent a team to patch things up once but it's still just a bunch of wooden bars barely holding up the remaining walls, and the tombs/basements were surely looted at some point over the last decades.

So I'll have to give this thumbs down for the bad state of the site AND for double dipping. I think this site along could be considered national importance for other reason but it's clearly not going to survive another 20+ years.


Nan

Germany - 28-Oct-20 -

The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads (T) by Nan

Xi'an is a culturally rich city. Being one of the prime cities of China and a former imperial capital it was part of the great trade network of the Silk Road. Indeed, it already holds four components of the existing Silk Road WHS: the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, the Daming Palace, and the Weiyang Palace. 

The original Silk Road world heritage site ended a little bit east of Xi'an, around another former imperial capital, Luoyang. The two new tentative sites seem to cover two types of sites:

  1. Sites missing from the original Silk Roads world heritage site.
  2. Coastal sites in China.

I visited the Xi'an Mosque and I would clearly place it as a site that should have been included in the existing WHS with the other Xi'an locations. In China, it's the third oldest mosque. And it's not that much younger than the oldest mosques in the world. The fact you find a mosque in China dating back back to 742 CE shows the strength of the trade network. The building has both the features of a mosque as well as the layout of a Chinese temple. My photo should give you an impression.

Unfortunately, I missed several components along my visit to China:

  • As a day trip I travelled to Luoyang but focussed on the Longmen Grottoes and Dengfeng. I did not have time to visit either the inscribed as well as the potential Silk Road sites apart from Longmen. Luoyang, to me, would fall into the extension category.
  • On a previous trip, I visited Guangzhou and missed the sites in town. The oldest mosques in China are both located in Guangzhou and they supposedly date back to 620s CE. I write supposedly, as I recently have read up a bit on the revisionist school of Islamic studies. The sites around Guangzhou as well as Quanzhou and Ningpo would fall into the coastal sites for me.

OUV

As stated in my Xi'an Walls review, Xi'an Imperial City should be a world heritage site. The Silk Road nomination feels like an unnecessary consolidation price for what is a great site on its own.

I would also approve of an Early China Mosque sites combining Guangzhou and Xi'an. I am not convinced, though, of creating yet another Silk Road serial site.

Disclaimer

This post is posted for two tentative sites. The Chinese have managed to create two distinct Silk Road tentative sites. Both seem to be nominated for 2022, though, so I assume they will be merged eventually. Lucky me, Xi'an Mosque is included in both.


Full Name
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads
Country
China
Added
2016
Type
Cultural
Categories
Human activity - Transport and Trade
Link
By ID
2016 Added to Tentative List

The site has 63 locations

The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Dagoba of Kumarajiva (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Daqin Monastery Pagoda (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Xi'an Mosque (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Qian Imperial Mausoleum (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Zhao Imperial Mausoleum (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: The Underground Chamber of Famen Temple (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Mao Imperial Mausoleum of Han Dynasty and Tomb of Huo Qubing (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Gongyi Stone Cave Temple (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: White Horse Temple (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Guoyuan-Xincheng Tomb Complex (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Yulin Grottoes (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Shuiliandong (Water Curtain Cave) Grottoes — Lashao Temple (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Great Buddha Temple in Zhangye (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Camel City Site and Tomb Complex (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Mati Temple Grottoes - Jiata Temple and Qianfo (thousand Buddhas) Cave (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Taizang Tower (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Bezeklik Grottoes (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Toyuk Grottoes (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Kumtula Grottoes (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Bedel Pass (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Simsem Grottoes (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Mehmud Qeshqeri Tomb (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Ancient City of Loulan (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Niva Site (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Historic City of Guyuan (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Cemetery of Northern Dynasties and Sui and Tangy Dynasty in Guyuan (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Site of Kaicheng (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Mount Xumi Grottoes (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Reshui Tomb Complex (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Ancient Path of Mountain Riy ue (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Site of the old Xihai Prefecture (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Site of old Fusi City (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Liusheng Pagoda (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Wanshou Pagoda (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Stone Inscriptions at Mount Jiuri (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Kiln Site of Cizao at Mount Jinjiaoyi (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Tin Hau Temple and Site of Deji Gate (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Kaiyuan Temple (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Qingjing Mosque (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Stone Carving of Mani at Cao'an Temple (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Islamic Tombs (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Luoyang Bridge (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Zhenwu Temple (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Maritime Market of Tukeng Village at Quan Harbor (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Kiln Site of Dehua (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Primary Temple of Mazu at Meizhou (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Tin Hau Ancestral Temple at Xianliang Harbor (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Site of Yue Harbor (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Kiln Site of Nansheng (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Baoguo Temple (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Site of Yongfeng Warehouse (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Asoka Temple (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Tiantong Temple (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Nanhai Temple and Site of Dock (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Guangxiao Temple (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Minaret of Huaisheng Mosque (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Tomb of Ancient Islamic Savant (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Shangchuan Commerce Island (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Site of Nanhai I Shipwreck (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Site of Longjiang Shipyard (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Tomb of the Boni King (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Tomb of Zhenghe (T)
The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads: Tomb of Hongbao (T)
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