The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads

Date of Submission: 22/02/2016
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(v)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
National Commission of the People's Republic of China for UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
Land Route in Henan Province, Shaanxi Province. Qinghai Province, Gansu Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region; Sea Route in Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province, Fujian Province and Guangdong Province
Ref.: 6093


Land Route of the Silk Roads




Name of Property

Coordinates of the Central Point


Shaanxi Province

City of Xi'an

Dagoba of Kumarajiva

N34 1630 E108 44 30



Daqin Monastery Pagoda

N34 15 00 E108 31 00



Xi'an Mosque

N34 06 34 E108 05 30



City of Xianyang

Qian Imperial Mausoleum

N34 34 51 E108 12 53



Zhao Imperial Mausoleum

N34 36 13 E108 31 18



City of Baoji

The Underground Chamber of Famen Temple

N34 30 00 E107 22 35


City of Xinping

Mao Imperial Mausoleum of Han Dynasty and Tomb of Huo Qubing

N34 19 22 E108 34 08


Henan Province

City Luoyang

Gongyi Stone Cave Temple

N34 48 48 E113 01 25


White Horse Temple

N34 43 27 E112 35 58


Gansu Province

City Jiuquan

Guoyuan-Xincheng Tomb Complex

N39 48 16 E98 25 00


Yulin Grottoes

N39 57 00 E95 57 00


City of Tianshui

Shuiliandong (Water Curtain Cave) Grottoes — Lashao Temple

N34 41 00 E105 40 00


City of Zhangye

Great Buddha Temple in Zhangye

N38 55 48 E100 27 16


Camel City Site and Tomb Complex

N39 20 09 E99 27 26


Mati Temple Grottoes — Jiata Temple and Qianfo (thousand Buddhas) Cave

N38 30 00 E100 19 30


Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Turpan Prefecture

Taizang Tower

N42 52 03 E89 31 36


Bezeklik Grottoes

N42 57 09 E89 33 02


Toyuk Grottoes

N42 51 51 E89 41 40


Aksu Prefecture

Kumtula Grottoes

N41 42 28 E82 41 29


Bedel Pass

N41 23 58 E78 23 40


Simsem Grottoes

N41 51 58 E83 09 43


City of Kaslrar

Mehmud Qeshqeri Tomb



Ba YinGuoLeng Mongolia Autonomous Prefecture

Ancient City of Loulan

N40 30 55 E 89 54 50


Hetian Area

Niva Site

N37 58 33 E 82 43 14


Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region

Guyuan City

Historic City of Guyuan

N36 06 00 E106 28 30


Cemetery of Northern Dynasties and Sui and Tangy Dynasty in Guyuan

N35 58 34 E106 13 59


Site of Kaicheng

N35 57 00 E106 03 30


Mount Xumi Grottoes

N36 00 00 E106 00 00


Qinghai Province

Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture

Reshui Tomb Complex

N36 10 44 E98 18 00


Xi’ning City

Ancient Path of Mountain Riy ue

N36 20 00 E100 54 05


Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture

Site of the old Xihai Prefecture

N36 44 03 E100 23 01


Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture

Site of old Fusi City

N37 04 14 E99 25 43

Sea Route of the Silk Roads




Name of Property

Coordinates of the Central Point


Fujian Province

City of Quanzhou

Liusheng Pagoda

N24 48 38 E118 43 17


Wanshou Pagoda

N24 43 21 E118 40 21


Stone Inscriptions at Mount Jiuri

N24 57 09 E118 31 17


Kiln Site of Cizao at Mount Jinjiaoyi

N24 51 16 E118 28 02


Tin Hau Temple and Site of Deji Gate

N24 53 52 E118 35 03


Kaiyuan Temple

N24 55 01 E118 34 52


Qingjing Mosque

N24 54 21 E118 35 13


Stone Carving of Mani at Cao'an Temple

N24 46 25 E118 31 47


Islamic Tombs

N24 54 38 E118 36 56


Luoyang Bridge

N24 57 30 E118 40 18


Zhenwu Temple

N24 52 58 E118 37 01


Maritime Market of Tukeng Village at Quan Harbor

N25 09 44 E118 56 31


Kiln Site of Dehua

N25 29 16 E118 15 24


City of Putian

Primary Temple of Mazu at Meizhou

N2 5 23 E118 8 42


Tin Hau Ancestral Temple at Xianliang Harbor

N25 7 49 E119 7 30


City of Zhangzhou

Site of Yue Harbor

N24 25 31 E117 51 06


Kiln Site of Nansheng

N24 13 34 E117 23 09


Zhejiang Province

City of Ningbo

Baoguo Temple

N29 58 57 E121 30 57


Site of Yongfeng Warehouse

N29 52 36 E121 32 36


Asoka Temple

N29 50 54 E121 44 24


Tiantong Temple

N29 48 21 E121 47 27


Guangdong Province

City of Guangzhou

Nanhai Temple and Site of Dock

N23 07 46 E113 15 51


Guangxiao Temple

N23 07 46 E113 15 51


Minaret of Huaisheng Mosque

N23 07 46 E113 15 51


Tomb of Ancient Islamic Savant

N23 07 46 E113 15 51


City of Jiangmen

Shangchuan Commerce Island

N21 44 46 E112 46 46


City of Yangjiang

Site of Nanhai I Shipwreck

N21 34 33 E111 52 10


Jiangsu Province

City of Nanjing

Site of Longjiang Shipyard

N32 03 27 E118 43 55


Tomb of the Boni King

N31 58 55 E118 46 37


Tomb of Zhenghe

N31 54 15 E118 43 55


Tomb of Hongbao

N31 52 49 E118 44 41

The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads includes the Land Route and Sea Route. The Land Route is the ancient trade route that starts from ancient Chang'an, the present-day Xi'an city and the center of politics, economy, and culture in a long period of ancient China. It refers to the overland commercial route connecting Asia. Africa and Europe, which goes over the Longshan Mountain, follows Ilexi Corridor, passes Yumen Pass and Yang Pass, reaches Xinjiang, stretches along the oasis and the Pamir Plateau, enters the Central Asia, crosses Central Asia. Western Asia and Southern Asia, and then leads to Africa and Europe. It also served as an important trunk road where the economic, political and cultural exchanges between the East and the West were taking place. In its very beginning the function of the trade route is to transport silk---the fine, delicate, elegant and portable goods---representing the civilization of ancient China, which enjoyed advanced agriculture and well-developed handicraft industry. Therefore, when the name of "Silk Roads" was first given by the German geographer Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen in the 1870s, it was widely accepted.

The Sea Route of Silk Roads is the maritime trade route connecting the East and the West, by taking advantage of monsoon, ocean currents and traditional navigation technologies. Geographically, the cultural heritage of Sea Route of Silk Roads in China were distributed along the coastal lines and particularly represented by the sea port cities like Guangzhou, Quanzhou, Ningbo and Nanjing. To fulfill its function as ports, these cities had established a comprehensive eco-system including production facilities, docks, shipyards, warehouse, navigational facilities, maritime trade markets, etc. Consequently, considerable cultural monuments and sites were derived from the flourished maritime trade, urban life and cultural exchange. Chronologically, the period of Sea Route of Silk Roads covers from the Qin and Han Dynasties of China (BC 221-AD 220) to middle 19th century, when the steamship began to replace the sailboat and greatly changed the ancient navigational activities.

The Chinese Section of Sea Route of the Silk Roads can be viewed as a cultural bridge linking different regions and nations with rich historical information. Among the heritage sites along the route, the port cities like Quanzhou. Guangzhou, Ningbo and Nanjing stand as the most important junctions. The well preserved monuments and sites in these cities embody the cultural communication among different civilizations, and witnessed the great historical events like Zhenghe's Navigation, Marco Polo's Travel, and Monk Jianzhen's Sailing to ancient Japan, etc..

The Silk Roads had been playing the role of a bridge linking the economies and cultures between the ancient East and West. In the process of its formation and development, the major religions and cultures in the ancient world made plenty of communications, exchanges and amalgamations, which boosted the human being to create splendid and influential civilization and left behind valuable cultural heritage. These heritage sites can provoke and encourage the human beings to better understand the diversity. coexistence and communication of different civilizations along this magnificent route.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

Criterion (i): As a route connecting the East and the West, the Silk Roads starts early and lasts for a long time. It is not only a trade route, but also a route of technological communication and exchange of minds. It exhibits the creative spirit of human kind.

Criterion (ii): The Chinese Section of the Silk Roads is an excellent example for coexisting, communication and melting of multi-cultures. Many kinds of technologies, thoughts and religions are all introduced and spread along the route. That enriches the connotation and value of Silk Roads.

Criterion (iii): Due to special geographic and natural situations, cave temples, ancient buildings, city sites, tombs as well as sea ports have been preserved intensively along the Chinese Section of the Silk Roads. They are typical tangible heritage of civilizations influenced by inter-communications between the East and the West in ancient times. With their outstanding universality and representativeness, they are epitomes for cultures within the whole Silk Roads, to a certain extent.

Criterion (iv): The cities and architectures along the Silk Roads embody the impact of the exchange of multi-culture, and witness the development of urban planning and architecture design in the context of the culture exchange between the East and the West.

Criterion (v): The urban planning, building construction, as well as complicated water management systems, embody the talent of ancient people to respect and utilize the nature. On the other hand, the shipyard and other maritime sites witnessed the genius exploitation of monsoon, ocean current by ancient people.

Criterion (vi): Cultural heritage along the Chinese Section of the Silk Roads are tangible samples for the localization of exotic cultures. The typical example is the introduction of Buddhism and its art into Chinese culture. Hence the evolving process and localization of exotic cultures, religions, art and especially Buddhist and other religious art are all widely recorded and preserved along the Silk Roads.

Thereby, given all that, the important status and prominent value of the Chinese Section of the Silk Roads are in accordance with all the 6 criterions on cultural heritage of the World Heritage, i.e. criteria i, ii, iii, iv, v and vi, etc.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The monuments and sites along the Chinese Section of the Silk Roads, though they are over a thousand years old, are well preserved in terms of authenticity and integrity. The construction, restoration and/or conservation of the nominated items were clearly recorded, and is attested by relevant historical records including massive literatures, archives and maps, as well as archeological data. Thus, the nominated serial property has a high degree of authenticity.

The comprehensive types of nominated sites, including production facilities, transportation systems and outcomes of cultural exchange, can fully represent the outstanding universal values of the route. The component sites of the nominated property have a relatively high degree of integrity in terms of the heritage value attributes, state of conservation of the sites and their settings.

The impact factors, including threats of natural factors and pressure of urban construction and tourism development have been efficiently controlled, prevented and mitigated, by means of formulating and implementing administrative regulations, and carrying out heritage conservation/management plans and other measures. Thus, the nominated serial property has a high degree of integrity.

Comparison with other similar properties

Compared with other huge-scale serial nominations of World Heritage, Chinese Section of the Silk Roads exists nearly 2000 years, and extends over thousands of kilometers. The combination of the long history and enormous spacial scale can be hardly equalled.

Chinese Section of the Silk Roads is not only a trade route, but also a cultural route, a religious route and a political route. The richness of its value is special and rare.

The abundant types of the component parts, including capital cities, palaces, cave temples, forts, passes, watch towers, posthouse, inscriptions, docks, warehouse, workshops, markets, mosques, cemeteries, etc. can hardly be compared with.