BBC Documentary – The Silk Road 2016 with Dr Sam Willis

“Entirely unknown civilization, their resources, advance technology and wealth, amazed the readership of backward Western Christendom.

This is the book that first reveal East to West, and in reality is a travel guide tailored to the needs of merchants with details of directions, distances, the kind of terrains to expect, how much food to pack.

Marco Polo travels reveal a new world of commercial links that reach as far as Persia, Central Asia, India and China.

More merchants follow in the Polo’s footsteps and the riches began to flow.

The ideas and products that Marco Polo and other travelers has seen during their travel trickles down the Silk Road, and in Europe they ignited.

They formed in part, a movement which we called the Renaissance.

An explosion of new thinking, new art, new inventions.

A quintessential renaissance city, Venice is a place I understand better now.

Position at the far west of the 5,000 miles Silk Road to which Europe owes so much.

From musical instruments, to mathematics, to the dozens of technical innovations like paper and printing.

Even Silk Road character like Timur become the stuff of plays and operas.

Now across my whole journey in China, Central Asia, Iran and Turkey.

The Silk Road itself is enjoying a renaissance.

Because we starting to acknowledge what we owe to the East, gifts, inventions and ideas that tailored history that seems to be overlooked.

And the clues of that history are everywhere, if you know where to look.

These pillars in St Marc Square bears the faces of merchants who brought those gifts and inventions.

Turks, Syrians, Asians and Persians.

All figures from the Silk Road.

The pillars support the Doges Palace.

The crenelated decorations, the lattice windows and pointed arches are the marks of Islamic influence.

Over there the distinctive top caplets  of St Mark Basilica, resembles the mosque domes I saw in Iran and Central Asia.

Despite the hoards of tourists come rain or sun, the Piazza of St Marco never fails to impressed.

We’ve seen this square so many times, in movies, on canvas in print, on tv.

It become an enduring image of the renaissance, but that’s the movement that paid for and made possible by the Silk Road.

The road that help set Europe on the path of unstoppable change, triggered a golden age and the rise of the West.”


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