Traveling the Silk Road :Ancient Pathway to the Modern World conjures images of romance and mystery, but in fact the Silk Road was a vast network of trade routes stretching over 5,000 miles from China through Central Asia and the Arabian Penninsula and into Europe. This was the first “information highway”–goods were exchanged along with news, ideas, foods, religions and cultures. Buddhism, Islam and Christianity all found their way to new cultures along the Silk Road, from 600CE to the 14th century. The use of the first paper and paper money spread east from China as glass and glassware were traded from Istanbul towards the east. Goods such as silk, spices, wine, tea, cotton and metal items all spread from Asia to the rest of the world along the Silk Road. From Xi’an, China to Istanbul (Constantinople) and beyond, cultures were influenced by the trade items passing through. Xi’an was a thriving city with many religions and languages, Istanbul was at the crossroads of two continents – a thriving trade port and Baghdad was a scholarly city with a university and 36 public libraries in the 12oo’s–a center of learning, writing and art. Recent archaeological finds have shown the extent of trade along the various routes, and this book is beautifully illustrated with photos of artifacts as well as of art work and maps of the routes. The book follows the route of the Silk Road in stages and includes fascinating photographs, of places such as the karez (wells) in the Turfan area of China that were built in the sixth century and are still in use today. This beautiful publication by the American Museum of Natural History offers a glimpse back to a time when ideas and cultures were being shared and explored. Check out this book and visit some of the the exotic stops along the Silk Road.