The New Silk Road - From Venice to Xi'an

Caucasus and Central Asia expert Peter Gysling takes the audience along the legendary Silk Road, encountering multifaceted cultures, passing through magnificent landscapes and conveying the charm and myth of travelling on the historic trade route.

The episodes:
1   From Venice, Italy to Trabzon, Turkey
2   From Batumi via Tbilisi and on to Lagodekhi in Georgia
3   From Sheki via Naftalan and on to Baku in Azerbaijan
4   From Aktau in Kazakhstan to Beynew and on to the Uzbek border
5   From Nukus in Uzbekistan to Osh in Kyrgyzstan
6   From Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan to Kashgar and Hotan in China
7   From Dunhuan via Zhangye and Lanzhou through to journey's end in Xi'an

The Silk Road could be described as the mother of globalization and yet there is no single fixed road or route. Even in the time of Marco Polo the Silk Road was a broad corridor between the Orient and the Occident, reaching from Europe through Central Asia deep into the heart of China. Time and time again the numerous branches of the intricate trade network were renewed, changed and complemented, influenced by wars and new frontiers. Historic caravans with commodities like silk, spices, ceramics, art and craftwork have been replaced by pipelines, trucks and railways transporting oil, gas and consumer goods. The Silk Road lives on, more than ever.

20 years after the collapse of the Soviet empire Central Asia's Stan-States are on the move: China is pushing West, investing billions in the dilapidated railways and roads of the former Soviet satellites, trying to turn the former Silk Road into a rail road, connecting Beijing and London. The cornerstones have been laid, tunnel borers are advancing deep under the Bosporus from Europe to Asia and will bridge the historic sea gate between the two continents in 2014.