The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes that was for centuries central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent, connecting the East with the West and stretching from the Korean peninsula and Japan all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
With the emergence of newer and faster methods of travel and trade, the ancient route eventually fell into obscurity. But now it is being revived as part of a cultural tourism project initiated by the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States.
The council is set to introduce a travel package for those in search of alternative tourism destinations. The project, which took three years to design, aims to attract 1 million tourists over the next three years. It is the fruit of cooperation between Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Although there have been previous attempts of bringing the Silk Road back to life, this is the first time these four countries are collaborating in a tourism-oriented project to return the ancient trade route back to its heyday.
The countries are expected to offer political and financial support to the project for the next three years. It mainly targets European and Far Eastern tourists, who are more into cultural tourism.
In order to promote the initiative, representatives of tourism agencies and journalists will be taken on a Silk Road Tour sponsored by the Republic of Turkey Promotion Fund and Turkish Airlines.
The 14-day tour will follow the footsteps of the ancient trade route through Kayseri, Nevşehir, Konya and Istanbul in Turkey; Ganja, Shaki, Shamakhi and Baku in Azerbaijan; Almaty, Shymkent, Turkistan, Otrar and Talas in Kazakhstan; and finally Balasagun and Naryn in Kyrgyzstan.