From London to Beijing on the old Silk Road – a photo essay

  • Thread starter Christopher Wilton-Steer
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Christopher Wilton-Steer

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Taken on a 25,000-mile trip across 16 countries, these images capture cities, landscapes and people along the trading route – and the pre-Covid freedom of cross-border travel

I set off on my dream journey from London to Beijing in the halcyon days of 2019. It’s a trip that seems unimaginable today. Travelling overland, I wanted to experience the transitions between cultures, to understand more about what connects us. I was also interested to see the legacy of exchange along the Silk Road trade routes that once connected China with the west.

My first major stop was Venice. The city is full of influences brought there by its many and varied visitors, especially those from the east. You can see these in the domes of Saint Mark’s Cathedral, which evoke the medieval minarets of Cairo, and in Renaissance masterpieces with their brilliant blue pigments – produced from lapis lazuli mined 4,000 miles away in northern Afghanistan and brought to Venice along the Silk Road.

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