The Silk Road and the Successive Caravanseraies along its Route
The routes of the Silk Road were initially particular ways for trade comprised of numerous access ways to connect the land of China to the Mediterranean Sea, with a total length of 7000 kilometers main road. This road extending from 'Chang-an', the capital of China in the past, passed through Samarkand, a city in Turkestan. Bukhara, a city in Russian Turkestan,..

 and other urban centers in eastern Iran and western Turkestan to the eastern Mediterranean. It is worth noting that the Silk Road passed through four mountain ranges; the Himalayas, Hindu Kuch Elburz, and Zagros, in a memorable golden age.

The Silk Road and the Successive Caravanseraies along its Route

It was actually a vast bed of multilateral commercial exchanges between the West and East and vice versa. This road not only confined to trade but also functioned as a crossroad for cultural, traditional and religious (Buddhism, Manichaeism, Christianity, and Islam) exchanges between the nations. During the first millennium, it was a transaction route for the exchange of agricultural, husbandry and silk commodities. Besides, it was a suitable path for the movement of the pilgrims across the regions of Central Asia, eastern, and western Turkestan, which reached its zenith in economic prosperity.
In retrospect, during the flourishing epoch of the Achaemenian Dynasty, in the cities that were the pathways of the Silk Road, any type of struggle in that vicinity was strictly forbidden. This way was used for the transmission of commands, letters goods and the transportation of passengers, so the power pillars of the ancient world, thereby, could easily and safely be connected to each other. That proper connection was possible by enjoying a large number of caravansaries linked together along that road. Each caravan used to check in a particular caravanserai in every region so that the specific roads chosen by cameleers. They had to provide always enough food and accommodations for the whole group, even for beasts of burden. The Silk Road was also a rendezvous for heads of states high-ranking officials, commanders dignitaries, guides, pilgrims, and labor groups. Besides the above-noted functions, the road gave the possibilities for the establishment of post offices temporary residence and even gorgeous buildings for the VIP's.

Silk Road and Izadkhvast caravanserai, Fars Province

The utility of the Silk Road continued during the Sassanid, Seljuk and Safavid Dynasties. Road construction was of the first priority, through the Persian Empire then. It was really an urgent need in Iran so that Shah Abbas I, did a lot to put it into execution. Because Esfahan, as the capital, enjoyed a strategic position and the cardinal point of the Empire, this paved the ground for a caravan to leave the capital for Tabriz in 24 days, to Merv in 12 days, and to the Persian Gulf (by way of Shiraz) in only 22 days. Subsequently, all these ambulant businesses with sufficient facilities and safety were ready to move towards India and the Silk Road. The developing plans of Shah Abbas I, not only revitalized the roads but also established a wide intertwining network of caravanserais that mushroomed, up to 999 in Iran. A caravan normally passed by two caravanserais per day; one at midday, and the other at the end of the day. They were normally located at a distance 24–30 kilometers far from each other. The story goes that at the end of his reign. Shah Abbas I, asked his minister about the number of caravanserais built during his kingdom. In response, he told, "Your Majesty, 999". When the king inquired why not 1000, the wise minister answered, "nine hundred and ninety nine captures more attention to its multiplicity than one thousand, as a figure.” Perhaps this can be another example suggestive of Shah Abbas'I, unusual characteristics and ways of thinking which have been recounted in Persian stories and proverbs, even after four centuries.

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