The Silk Road was a 4,000-mile-long trading route between the civilizations of Rome and China.
Caravans carrying Chinese goods, especially silk, traveled out of northwest China, around the burning desert sands of Takla Makan, over the Pamir Mountains north of India, into Mesopotamia, and finally arrived at the eastern end of the Mediterranean.
No one group made the trip. Instead, the goods were passed from one group to another, often taking years to reach their destination. The groups inhabiting the middle of the Silk Road made enormous profits from the trade, and they tried to prevent any direct contact between China and the Roman Empire.
In A.D. 97, the Chinese sent a spe-cial ambassador named Kan Ying to open relations with Rome. He made it as far as Parthia, modern day Iran, where the Parthians told him it would take two more years to reach Rome. Discouraged, Kan Ying went no farther.