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 1996, 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.

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