Silk Road Trade & Travel Encyclopedia

Interesting Facts & Trivia

27 - QUESTION:  In addition to a "caravansary," where else could Silk Road travelers rest when crossing desert regions?

Answer:  An oasis.

In geography, an oasis (plural: oases) is an isolated area of vegetation in a desert, typically surrounding a spring or similar water source. Oases also provide habitat for animals and humans. The location of oases has been of critical importance for trade and transportation routes in desert areas. Caravans must travel via oases so that supplies of water and food can be replenished. Thus, political or military control of an oasis has in many cases meant control of trade on a particular route. Travel on the Silk Road was only possible because of the presence of oasis and oasis towns along the Silk Routes. The routes between Central Asia and China connected several routes south of the Trans-Eurasian steppe belt, through the deserts of Central Asia, and from the oasis of one trading center to the next.

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