Silk Road in Guyuan
With a length of more than 1700 kilometers in the country, the Silk Road starts from Chang’an (the nowadays Luoyang) in the east and ends at the Constantinople, the capital of Roman Empire in the west, crossing the Eurasia. At present, it is divided by scholars into three sections, namely the eastern section at Guangrong and Hexi, the middle section at the West Region and the western section outside the borders. And the eastern section is divided again into three parts, the southern part, the middle part and the northern part. Guyuan is just located at the vital communication line of the northern part in the eastern section.Because of the different historical backgrounds, Silk Road in Guyuan can be concluded as follows:
The northern part from Chang’an to Liangzhou before the mid Tang dynasty starts from Xi’an and goes towards northwest along with the Jing River to Xianyang, Liquan, Gan, Yongshou, Bin and Changwu counties in Shaanxi province and Jingchuan and Pingliang counties in Gansu province, then enters into Guyuan area in Ningxia province; it shifts to the north from Wating after passing Sanguankou, and finally arrives at Guyuan city by Qingshizhui and Kaichen; then it goes straight to the north along with the Qingshui River and passes through Sanying and Heicheng and along Mima valley to Zhengqi and Jiashang counties in Haiyuan form which it continues to Xi’an prefecture and the Dry Salt Pond Basin and arrives at Gansu province again; at last, it crosses over the Yellow River at the Stone Gate in the northeast of Jingyuan county in Gansu, and reaches Liangzhou(the nowadays Weiwu in Gansu) after passing Jingtai county.
This part is flat with most of it along with the Jing River, Qingshui River and the Mima valley, thus large-scale vehicles can proceed without hindrance.
In Tang dynasty and Five Dynasties Period, the communication line between the east and the west had to be altered, because Guyuan area was occupied by Turpan. But the whole line was reopened again to the early Northern Song dynasty. Its direction can be still clearly pointed out on the geographic map rubbing from stone inscription of Song dynasty collected by Japanese Rikkyo Temple. The road from Chang’an to Guyuan going as set forth, it goes to north at Guyan and turns to west at Sanying, passing Tangshimenguan (the nowadays Huangduobao),Songpingxiacheng (the nowadays northwestern part of Guyuan), Shizikou, Hongyangfang, Shutai and Xi’an in Haiyuan county. It iss divided into two roads in Xi’an, one from Xi’an to Xingren and Jingyuan county, the other from Xi’an to Dalachi and to Jingyuan county.
After Yuan dynasty, the Silk Road has a new line from Liupan Mountain to Lanzhou. From Xi’an to Pingliang, Wating in Guyuan, across the Liupan Mountain in the west of Heshangpu village, it arrives at Lanzhou after passing Longde, and Huining, Dingxi and Touzhong in Gansu province, continuing to Hosi Corridor after crossing the Yellow River. The whole route is almost the same with the nowadays Xi’an-Lanzhou highway and it is apparently much more convenient than the old routes.
The Northern road being the principal axis, there are two sub-roads. One is along the eastern Longshan Mountain instead of crossing Dazhenguan after passing Longzhou, and then it arrives at Longxi after crossing Jitoudao and Liupan Mountain. The first Emperor of Chin Dynasty just took this road when he inspected Longxi on the 27th year of his government (220B.C.). It moves down the Zuyan River in the northwest of Jitoudao and arrives in Hexi after crossing the Yellow River in the north of Jingyuan by either Shimenchuan in the eastern bank or the Chanyinkou in the western bank. A substitution way is along Jing River to Pingliang, and arrives at Jitoudao after crossing the Kongdong Mountain and passing Jingyuan. This way was taken by Wu emperor of Han dynasty when he patrolled the northwestern area in October (110B.C.). The other road starts from Xianyang to Ning prefecture (the nowadays Ning county) in Beidi area, and enters in Guyuan from the Ru River, which was taken by Banbiao in Han dynasty.
Ever since the ancient time, Guyuan has been the artery to the western region which controlled the Silk Road. In the Southern and Northern Dynasties, with the continually development of politic, economic and culture of the east and the west, the road had greatly promoted the spreading and communicating of the two cultures because it was taken by lots of foreign ambassadors, businessmen and Buddhists. Even to the present, it still has immeasurable contribution to the communication of economic and culture between the east and the west.