Welcome to the Silk Road! Our partner tour guide, Amy Osaki, and her incredible tour company Walking Softly Adventures, are excited to embark on their Silk Road Itinerary in 2013. These high quality trips take a deep, intimate look into a region’s cultural heritage and its art history.
The Silk Road is a web of routes from Asia to Europe, traversing over 4,000 miles. Trade started to flourish on this network over 2,200 years ago during the Han Dynasty in China. Named after the most popular of the road’s merchandises, Chinese silk, it was also the main conduit for all sorts of goods, religion, culture, ideas, and technologies.
The Chinese monk Xuanzang traveled the Silk Road in the 7th century during the Tang dynasty, and returned to China with a stupendous collection of Buddhist manuscripts from India. These are housed in the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Ta) in Xi’an, China. Guests will visit this Pagoda on October 10 as part of the Adventuring on the Silk Road tour with Art Tours by Amy.
Marco Polo traveled from Venice on the Silk Road with his father and uncle in the mid 1200’s (13th century). He met Kublai Khan who requested that they bring him oil from Jerusalem. In 1271, Marco Polo and his father and uncle, traveled the Silk Road again, and delivered the oil to Kublai Khan. The Khan prohibited them from leaving. It was 24 years later when Marco Polo finally returned home to Venice! When they arrived in Venice, the city was at war with Genoa and Marco Polo was imprisoned. He recounted his story to a fellow prisoner who wrote it down; this document was published as the “Travels of Marco Polo”!
From the office of Amy Osaki: “On our trip, we begin in Xi’an and then travel north and west by plane, bus, and even camel if you wish. We explore the western-most end of the Great Wall of China, where it meets the Gobi desert at Jiayuguan. We ride camels on the sand dunes at Dunhuang, and tour the superb Mogao Caves with one of the richest collections of Buddhist cave art in the world. Then we explore the innovative underground irrigation system that brought water to Turpan, nurturing the oasis and its delicious grapes and raisins. Nearby the Bezeklik Caves are adorned with 1,500 year old paintings, and Jiaohe is a 2,200 year old Silk Road city. Urumqi’s provincial museum is an amazing repository of the art and culture of the Silk Road people, including 3,800 year old mummies. Finally, we see the soaring mountains, Tian Shan mountains north of Urumqi, and the Pamir mountains west of Kashgar. Our trip ends in Kashgar, the last major Chinese Silk Road city before the 25,000 foot peaks of the Pamir mountains which separate China from Kyrgyzstan.”
Space on this special trip is limited. Contact your Willamette agent at 800.821.0401 to be penciled in for the trip. Your $400 deposit will guarantee your reservation.
Amy Boyce Osaki leads only one or two art tours each year. This will likely be the last opportunity to travel on the Silk Road with Amy. It would be her pleasure to have you join this guaranteed departure!
Look for mention of Xinjiang and Central Asia in our newest Spring newsletter, out next week! Call us to order yours FREE today!