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A branch of the Silk Road followed the Western and Southern edges of Persia’s Central Desert, encountering a number of smaller cities such as Kashan (they sent ochre and cobalt blue to China for porcelain), Nain, Yazd and Kerman – going towards India and Afghanistan and even Pakistan. Among them, Yazd was the most  remarkable, also  being the largest. Leading to Yazd were roads to Mashad, Merv to the North and Rayy South to the Persian Gulf. Trade was very important for Yazd, and it also was a stronghold of the Zoroastrian faith, as well as a centre for Islamic learning.

When the Silk Road was active, Yazd was a halt on the Southern route and was spared destruction by the Mongols. Marco Polo is reputed to have come through this city in about 1272 AD, and described it as a noble city, with beautiful silks.

It was the bazaar that drove the city’s economy, and the traders that stopped over en route to or from, enriching it with their goods and cultures from both East and West.  The height of trading happened in the 15th and 16th centuries, with goods mainly exported to India.

Traded items:

Textiles, silks and carpets and decorative metalwork.


Click to proceed to next city…. ALEPPO



  1. “Lords of the Horizons – A History of the Ottoman Empire”, by Jason Goodwin. Vintage. 1998
  2. “The Silk Road – A New History”, by Valerie Hansen. OUP 2012
  3. “Introduction to Byzantium, 602 -1453”, by Jonathan Harris. Routledge. 2020
  4. “The Silk Road – A very short Introduction”, by James A. Millward. OUP. 2013
  5. SERKIS, Christiane. Des Fondateurs de Religions; de certaines langues antiques. Lausanne 2020 Article inédit.
  6. “Life Along the Silk Road”, by Susan Whitfield. UCal Press 2015
  7. “Silk Roads – Peoples, Cultures, Landscapes”, Edited by Susan Whitfield. Thames and Hudson. 2019
  8. www.ChinaHighlights.com/silkroad/history
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