The Silk Road was a group of ancient trade routes that connected China and Europe. The Silk Road flourished primarily from 100BCE to AD1500. The route stretched across about 8,050km of mountains and deserts in central Asia and the Middle East between eastern China and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Silk Road got its name from the vast amount of Chinese silk carried along it. The cities along the Silk Road provided food, water, and rest, as well as goods for trade. Of those cities, Khotan, now Hotan in China was famous for its jade. The region of Fergana in present-day Uzbekistan was known for its powerful horses.

Camel caravans carried most goods across the dry, harsh regions along the Silk Road. By AD800, traffic began to decrease as traders started to travel by safer sea routes. A final period of heavy use occurred during the 13th and 14th centuries, when the Mongols ruled Central Asia and China.