China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan seek UN World Heritage status for ancient Silk Road
A major cultural initiative is underway. China is working closely with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to seek United Nations World Heritage status for the ancient silk road. The result of the project will be released in June.
The Silk Road is a series of trade and cultural transmission routes that links the East with the West. It began during the Han Dynasty more than 2,200 years ago. The road stretches over 10,000 kilometers across more than a dozen countries.
Its importance is recognized by the deputy director of the International council of monuments and sites, Guo Zhan.
"A trade route so ancient and of this scale has no equal. It connected so many civilizations and is truly special in human history," he said.
The initiative includes five provinces and regions in China, and 22 heritage sites on the route are included. Kazakhstan has eight heritage sites and Kyrgyzstan has three.
Sites along the Silk Road are incredibly diverse and include architecture from various civilizations and religions. It is the quintessential example of the coming together of commerce, culture, religion and technology from various parts of the world.
With the development of sea trade the Silk Road gradually dwindled during the 1500s, but recognition as a world heritage site would help people better preserve its relics, and understand its past.