The early trade in silk was carried on against incredible odds by great caravans of merchants and animals traveling over some of the most inhospitable territory on Earth, including searing, waterless deserts and snowbound mountain passes. Beginning at the magnificent ancient Chinese city of Chang'an (Xi'an), the route took traders westward along the Hexi Corridor to the giant barrier of the Great Wall, then either north or south of the Taklamakan Desert to Kashgar before continuing on to India and Iran, or farther to the great cities of Constantinople, Damascus and Baghdad. For today's traveler, it is not only the weight of history that makes the Silk Road intriguing, but the incredible diversity of scenery and ethnic people along the way. This beautifully photographed and intelligent book is the authoritative guide to travel in the region. New edition Uniquely focused guidebook to western China, Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi and by rail to Central Asia Fauna and flora of the mountain and desert regions Practical information including border crossings to Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian republics Historical overview of the Silk Road Details of the region's ethnic peoples, arts, crafts, histories and cultures Comprehensive list of websites for further research and reading Over 47,000 copies in print 104 color photos and 15 mapsBonavia, Judy is the author of 'The Silk Road', published 2007 under ISBN 9789622177611 and ISBN 9622177611.