The Silk Road is known for being one of the largest trade networks in the world. Its origin dates back to around 130 BCE, when the Han dynasty of China officially opened trade with the West. The route extended more than 6400 kilometers (4000 miles). Besides China, the Silk Road contributed largely to the development of other civilizations such as India, Persia, Europa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia. Besides silk many other goods were traded, as well as religions, philosophies, languages, cultures and technologies. The disappearance of the Silk Road around 1450 CE gave way to other trade routes, especially by sea.
Many view 2015 as the year of major transcontinental connectivity. The year in which the ‘Economic belt idea’ by President Xi Jinping becomes reality, reviving the ancient Silk Road. China’s new strategy offers the prospect of Central Asia continuing the unparalleled economic boom it has enjoyed over the past few decades. New railroads once again connect China to the West via Central Asia and Russia, cutting travel time from 36 days by sea to a mere 13 days by freight train. Chinese media estimate the initiatives will reach 4.4. billion people with a collective GDP of $21 trillion.