This picture (left) is of statues of famous Silk Road explorers. The dude with the sweet staff is Zhang Qian. Zhang Qian was a diplomat sent west in the year 138 B.C. during the Han Dynasty by Emperor Han Wudi, in an attempt to make an alliance with the Yuezhi people of Transoxiana (Tajikistan) to fight the Xiongnu (Mongolia). Zhang and his 100 or so companions were quickly captured and enslaved by the Xiongnu. Amongst them, Zhang took a wife who bore him a son. Winning the trust of the Xiongnu, Zhang Qian, his wife, his son, and his travel companion Ganfu escaped and continued their mission west. Thirteen years after Zhang Qian and his 100 some men left Xi’an, only he and Ganfu returned. Zhang was given a position of high counselor and the information he brought back resulted in trade routes that connected China to Persia.
Each of the other statues is another figure who played equally amazing roles in the story of the Silk Road, whether in exploration, conquest, translation, the spread of religion, and so forth.
Distance: 0 km
Total: 1575 km
End: Jiayuguan (嘉峪关) -- Herdsman International Youth Hostel
Written by Pat