By Xinhua Writers Gui Tao and Zhang Chongfang (Xinhua)
CHINA DAILY - June 30, 2014
BEIJING, June 29 -- In northwest China's vast sun-scorched desert, a camel train plods along the ancient Silk Road. The caravan bells sound as beautiful as they did some 2,000 years ago.
The 7,000 km road linking the Orient and Occident, was once jammed with caravans of Chinese silk, Indian spices and Persian brocade. Now the camels carry tourists from around the world.
"Those merchants must have been expecting a good price for their goods after all this hardship," said Beijing accountant Guo Ying, 25, after her bumpy camel ride.
Centuries after war and competition from sea routes brought decay, the Silk Road is rising again.
It was along the road that explorers and pioneers -- most famously the Middle Kingdom's imperial envoy Zhang Qian and the Venetian merchant and traveller Marco Polo -- introduced to their own people the other side of the world.
Both East and West are looking again at the routes that maintained stability and prosperity from China to the Mediterranean for many centuries.