‘Silk Road, a path to exchange thoughts, culture, ideas’

December 25, 2020 - 17:24

TEHRAN – The Silk Road was far more than an ancient route for commerce and trade. It used to be a melting pot of various cultures, beliefs, and attitudes, the secretary-general of the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO has said.

“While the ancient Silk Road is widely considered as a trade route, it was also a corridor to exchange ideas, culture, and thoughts,” Hojatollah Ayoubi said, IRNA reported on Friday.   

He made the remarks in his message to the 5th Marco Polo Art Festival, which is being held virtually with the motto of “Silk Road – The Path of Dialogue” in Korcula, Croatia. 

Addressing the cultural significance of the overland route, he noted: “People of the countries on the Silk Road, who adore the knowledge and were capable of turning words and letters to their best, are still practicing the oldest arts of calligraphy, illumination, and manuscripts, reads part of the massage.  

Societies of these lands have sacrificed their lives for books and knowledge as well as art and culture, therefore they are known as the lands of mysticism and literature, he added. 

The Silk Road is also the path of science and the beginning of the history of science, while in these lands the science has always been accompanied by morality, he explained. 

Iran has participated in the festival by several documentary films, videos, and music performances which are being held online over the outbreak of the coronavirus. 

The ancient Silk Road has existed for thousands of years, passing through many different empires, kingdoms, reigns, and societies throughout history. At certain times in its long history, traders could travel freely along these routes, whereas at others, travel was difficult or dangerous.

According to UNESCO, the Silk Road enriched the countries it passed through, transporting cultures, religions, languages, and of course material goods into societies across Europe, Asia, and Africa, and uniting them all with a common thread of cultural heritage and plural identities.

There are over 40 countries today alongside the historic Land and Maritime Silk Roads, all still bearing witness to the impact of these routes in their culture, traditions, and customs.

These vast networks carried more than just merchandise and precious commodities however: the constant movement and mixing of populations also brought about the transmission of knowledge, ideas, cultures, and beliefs, which had a profound impact on the history and civilizations of the Eurasian peoples. 

Travelers along the Silk Roads were attracted not only by trade but also by the intellectual and cultural exchange that was taking place in cities along the Silk Roads, many of which developed into hubs of culture and learning. Science, arts, and literature, as well as crafts and technologies, were thus shared and disseminated into societies along the lengths of these routes, and in this way, languages, religions, and cultures developed and influenced each other.


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