Nowadays Silk Road Tour is a world famous culture-themed tour route. Every year thousands of tourist cover the different parts of the ancient Silk Road, the rich cultural relics and unique landform impress every tourist very much.
Today we can take train or flight to explore the Road very easily, but in ancient time, when there was no fast long distance transportation, many brave guys still travel through the Silk Road on foot with help of horse, camel, or horse-drawn cart. Among the numberless Silk Road travelers, there are several figures especially worthy of memory.
Zhang Qian (164BC – 114BC), a great explorer, traveler, and diplomat of West Han Dynasty. He dredged the south and north roads stretch from Han Dynasty to Western Area. And he brought Ferghana horse, grape, alfalfa, pomegranate tree, oil flax, sesame, ostrich egg, etc.
Ban Chao (32AD-102AD), famous strategist and diplomat of East Han Dynasty. He is the youngest son of historian Ban Biao, his elder brother Bao Gu and little sister Bao Zhao are also famous historian. In the beginning, Ban Chao is an officer in the central government, but when he learned East Han Dynasty has problem in Western Area , he applied to service in Western Area as governor. He worked in Western Area for 31 years till retirement. During his governing period, the 50+ kingdoms in Western Area enjoyed long time peace and they kept good relationship with East Han Dynasty.
Gan Ying, subordinate staff of Ban Chao in East Han Dynasty. In 97AD he paid official visit to Rome. His diplomats group departed from today’s Kuqa, traveled through today’s Iraq, Iran, finally arrived at today’s Persian gulf. Though he failed to reach Roma, he got a glimpse of the basic information of Mid Asia nations.
Master Xuan Zang (600AD-664AD), great monk in the Tand Dynasty, famous Buddhist Sutra translator and traveler. In the first year of Taizong Era, Xuan Zang departure from Chang’An and traveled westward for 25000km in the following 19 years to ancient India, birth place of Buddhism. Finally he arrived in the Ancient India and studied Buddhism there. In the 19 years of Taizong Era, he traveled back to Chang’an with 150 Buddha relics, 7 Buddha statues, and 657 Buddhism sutras. Then Master Xuan Zang translated the Buddhism sutras in the Da Ci’en Temple. And he build the Big Wild Goose Pagoda to keep these Buddhism sutras.
Macro Polo, a world famous traveler and businessman in the 13th Century. When he is 17 years old, he traveled through Middle East Area to China, when is under government of Yuan Dynasty, in 4 years. He stayed in China for 17 years and visited many places in China. In his book The Travels of Marco Polo, he recorded lots of stories and what he saw in China. His book remarkably aroused European’s interest in East.