The Silk Road • Ian Berry • Magnum Photos

Magnum Pro

Editorial Cultural Commercial Search Image Archive

Welcome to the New Magnum Photos Site

Explore the award-winning storytelling work of Magnum photographers here, or head to Magnum Pro to search and license photos from Magnum’s acclaimed image archive.

CONTINUE TO NEW SITE
SEARCH PHOTO ARCHIVE IN MAGNUM PRO
Travel

The Silk Road

As China invests billions in the development of a new Silk Road, we look back at Ian Berry’s 1996 journey along the ancient route between the East and the West

Ian Berry

Ian Berry The Whirling Dervishes in the Divan Edebiyati Monastery and Museum. 1996. Istanbul. Turkey. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry TURKEY. Prayer beads on the Ankara express train. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Chaddor clad women pass a plaster cast mould of a wedding from the pre-fundamentalist era. Mashhad. Iran.1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Children in traditional Turkmen costume. Turkmenistan. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Market on the outskirts of Ashkhabad. Turkmenistan. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Shepherdess and her flock in the medieval Silk Road city, home of the poet/astronomer, Omar Khayyam, with the ruins of the great Kiz Kala in the background. Merv, Turkmenistan. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Young girls in traditional Turkmen costume. Ashkhabad. Turkmenistan. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry A cafe in Chardzhou, the only eating place after night train. Turkmenistan. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Novice Tibetan monks on their way to prayer. 1996. Xiahe, Gansu Province, China. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Farmer taking sheep to market. Lanzhou, China. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Women washing a dog in front of the Ulugbek Madrassa. Bukara. Uzbekistan. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Women enter Tillya-Kari Madrassa. Golden Mosque . Samarkand. Uzbekistan. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Registan square. Samarkand. Uzbekistan. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Praying in the Russian Orthodox Church. Samarkand, Uzbekistan. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Lyab-i-Khauz square. Bukara, Uzbekistan. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Paintings of Timur decorate streets to instill ethnic unity. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Uyghar cooks set up their outdoor portable restaurants. Turpan, China. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Chinese business men in lobby of City Hotel use portable phone. Suitcases. Urumqi, China. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Bride being dressed and made up in a photographer's studio for their wedding photographs, usually taken before the wedding. Urumqi, China. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Bride gets made up before being photographed. Beijing, China. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Old man rests at the gates of a temple. Lanzhou, China. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry View of modern Xian from the walls surrounding the old city. Xian, China. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry An army of terracotta warriors east of Xian near the tomb of Qin Shihuang. Xian, China. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Early morning Tai-chi in the Taoranting Park, Beijing, China. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry Posing on the Great Wall at Mutianyu. 90km NE of Beijing, China. 1996. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos

Dating back to before the Han Dynasty, which ruled ancient China from 206 BC to 220 AD, the Silk Road is a network of trade routes linking China to the West. So called because of the silk that would be exported this way, the Silk Road not only fostered business links, but cultural exchanges along the network.

In recent years, following an announcement by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, new investment has seen the massive roll-out of Chinese-built infrastructure, with the aim of placing the country at the center of the global economy. The updated Silk Road will use rail, air, sea and land routes to create links between Beijing and Germany. China has already invested $40bn into the scheme, and according to the BBC, 900 deals are already underway worth $890bn.

In 1996, Magnum’s Ian Berry travelled from Istanbul to Iran, through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, mainly by rail, along a journey that opened up new trade routes between regions that were previously sealed under Soviet communism. Here, we present some of the photographs from what he remembers as a great trip.