Silk Road Trade & Travel Encyclopedia
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Yadan Landform A geological phenomenon in the north-east of Lop Nur in Xinjiang. "Yadan," which refers to a precipitous hillock in the Uygur language, is a unique geological wind-eroded landform. Yadan landforms, or Dunhuang Ghost City, offers magnificent landscapes.
Wang Yande Chinese envoy Wang Yande (939–1006) was sent to the Karakhoja Uyghur Kingdom in AD 981–984. He is known to have stated: "I was impressed with the extensive civilization I have found in the Uyghur Kingdom. The beauty of the temples, monasteries, wall paintings, statues, towers, gardens, housings and the palaces built throughout the kingdom cannot be described. The Uyghurs skilfully make things of silver and gold, vases and pitchers."
Yangguan Pass Ruins The Yangguan and Yumenguan passes are the westernmost gates of the Great Wall, and are located in the northwestern part of the city of Dunhuang, in Gansu province, northwestern China. The Yangguan Pass was constructed in the period of Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty on the Gudong River Bed 70 km west of Dunhuang. It is named Yangguan because it borders the southern part of the Yumenguan Pass. As a center of communications to areas beyond China's inland, it was the only strategic pass on the south route of the Silk Road. (See Yumenguan)
Yangjiawan terracotta army near the Changling Mausoleum of Liu Bang (Emperor Gaozu of the Han Dynasty), in the northeastern Xianyang of Shaanxi province in China, was discovered in 1965. The tomb was built for Zhou Bo and his son Zhou Yafu, both high-ranking military officials. A total of 2,549 terracotta figurines were unearthed from the funerary pit, including 583 cavalry, 1,965 infantry troops and musicicans, and one commanding figurine. The total number of troops and horses was said to be over 3,000 at the time of excavation.
Yanqi (Yanqi Hui Autonomous County) is an autonomous county in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and is under the administration of the Bayin'gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture of China. More...
Yarkand was once the capital of several Uighur Kingdoms in China, and was a vital station on the Silk Road.
Yellow River (Huang He) This is one of China's great rivers and a historic transport route. Chinese civilization first developed along the Yellow River. To the west is the city of Lanzhou, which was a major trading hub for merchants from Mongolia, Sichuan and Tibet. The term "Cradle of civilization" is any of the possible locations for the emergence of civilization (including the Yellow River region). Although the term is usually applied to Ancient Near Eastern culture, especially in the Fertile Crescent (Levant and Mesopotamia), the use of the term may also extended to regions situated along large river valleys, notably the Indus River in South Asia, and the Yellow River in China. More...
Yemen like the territory of Oman to the northeast, has always benefited from its strategic trading position at the southern extremity of the Arabian peninsula. Merchants, without needing to sail far from land, could make contact with Persia to the north, India to the east and Africa to the south. This stretch of coast, together with that of Muscat, made up an active trading hub. In 1507, the Portuguese seized and fortified Muscat harbor, establishing a string of coastal strong points to protect their trade route to India. After establishing control of the neighboring region, the Portuguese captured the island of Hormuz and established a permanent garrison there. The Portuguese became the strongest sea power from the Gulf of Oman to the southern tip of Africa, until the mid-17th century.
Gan Ying (Kan Ying) was the first Chinese envoy to Ta-Ts'in (the Roman Orient). Gan Ying, was a Chinese military ambassador who was sent from Kashgaria in 97 AD on a mission to Rome by the Chinese general Ban Chao. He journeyed through the Pamir mountains, Parthia, and reached as far as the the coast of the Persian Gulf. However, he was dissuaded from continuing further west. He is the first known Chinese to have travelled the furthest in the Occident, and to have explored the Persian Gulf and Middle East as west as T'iao-chih, near present-day Nedjef in Iraq.
In 97 AD, in order to establish trade relations with Rome directly, China sent the military ambassador, Gan Ying, to cultivate relations with the Roman Empire. However, because the merchants of Anxi monopolized the trade between China and Rome and profited by selling Chinese silk to Romans at very high prices, the Anxi merchants exaggerated the hardships of crossing the sea and persuaded Gan Ying to give up his travel. As a result Gan Ying returned to China. He brought back reliable and detailed information about Central Asia and is known in historical records as the first Chinese who went the furthest west during antiquity.
Yining (Kulja, Ghulja) is a city in north-west China, bounded by the Russian border and the mountains that surround the Ili River basin. From 13-15th century it was under the control of Chagatai Khanate known as Almaligh. Another Mongolian empire—the Zunghar Khanate—established its capital in the area. Yining is located on the northern side of the Ili River in the Dzungarian basin, near the border with Kazakhstan, and is about 710 km west of Ürümqi. The Ili River valley is far wetter than any other part of Xinjiang and has rich grazing land.
Abraham bin Yiju a Jewish spice trader (c. 1120-1160 CE) who was active between Mangalore, southwest India, and the Middle East in 1138.
Yuan Dynasty (or Mongol-Yuan Empire 1260-1368) was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China and Mongolia, and surrounding areas. The Yuan Dynasty is considered both as a division or continuation of the Mongol Empire, and as an imperial dynasty of China. In Chinese history, the Yuan Dynasty followed the Song Dynasty and preceded the Ming Dynasty. Although the dynasty was established by Kublai Khan, Kublai placed his grandfather Genghis Khan on the official record as the founder of the dynasty or Taizu (Chinese: 太祖). Besides the title Emperor of China, Kublai Khan had also claimed the title of Great Khan, i.e. supremacy over the other Mongol khanates (Chagatai Khanate, Golden Horde, Ilkhanate); however this claim was only truly recognized by the Il-Khanids, who were essentially self-governing. Although later emperors of the Yuan Dynasty were recognized by the three virtually independent western khanates as their nominal suzerains, they each continued in their separate developments. The Yuan is sometimes referred to as the Empire of the Great Khan, as the Mongol Emperors of the Yuan held the title of Great Khan of all Mongol Khanates. (See Sung Dynasty) Art in the Yuan Dynasty More...
Yuandadu (Yuan Dadu) was the capital of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368). After Kublai Khan (the grandson of Genghis Khan) ascended the throne in 1260, he formally established the Yuan Dynasty in 1271 by changing the state title to Yuan, with Yuandadu (currently Beijing) as the capital. The ruins of the Yuan Dynasty city wall are one of the attractions of the city.
Yueh-chih (Yuechis or Yuezhi) The Yueh-chih are documented in detail in Chinese historical accounts, in particular the 2nd-1st century BCE Records of the Great Historian, or Shiji, by Qian (no direct records for the name of Yueh-chih rulers are known to exist - only Chinese accounts mention the names). The original homeland of the Yueh-chih, is a subject of debate. (See Hsiung-nu Empire and Xiongnu). Following a long migration from the Chinese border in about 165 BC, the Tocharians/Yuezhi follow the Scythians in invading Bactria. The Yuezhi are later united under one of their tribes, the Kushans, to form an empire which stretches into India. More...
Yueya (Crescent Moon) Spring is near Mingsha Hill in the southern section of Dunhuang City.
Yumenguan (Yumen Pass) Ruins also known as the Jade Gate, the Yumenguan and Yangguan passes are the westernmost gates of the Great Wall. Yumenguan is located in the Gobi Desert, 90 km northwest of the city of Dunhuang city, in Gansu province, China. It was built during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty. Its name came from the fact that jade from Hotan in Xinjiang entered Central China through the pass. At that time, the pass provided the only access to the northern route of the Silk Road. At the end of the hill north of the city is a border between Central China and the states of the Western Regions. (See Jade Gate)
Han Dynasty Great Wall in the desert. After the Jade Gate, the Great Wall of China continues westward.
Song Yun (Sung Yun)/Huisheng (518-521) Sung Yun of Dunhuang travelled with a monk Huisheng on a mission sent by the Empress Dowager to obtain Buddhist scriptures in India in 518. The journey was through the Taklamakan desert via the southern route, passing Shanshan, Charkhlik, Khotan, and west into the Hindu Kush, Kabul, Peshawar. Interesting accounts are offered of their visit to the Ephthalites (the White Hun) kingdom, in eastern Afghanistan, who was in control of vast areas of Central Asia during the 5th and 6th centuries. Although both travelers wrote travel accounts, none remain.
Yungang Grottoes In addition to the best known grottoes near the region of the Silk Road, known as the Mogao Caves, the Yungang Grottoes are one of the most famous ancient sculptural sites in China. They are excellent examples of rock-cut architecture.
Yurt (ger) is a portable, round felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by Turkic groups and nomads in the steppes of Central Asia.
A Mongolian Yurt
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