The 9 Best Documentaries About The Silk Road

Nov 12, 2023 | Best Of, Business, Geography

If you’re looking for an in-depth look into one of the most important global trading networks, then The Silk Road is a must-see. From its origins in ancient China to its modern incarnation, this vast trading network has shaped our world and continues to influence culture today. To understand more about how the Silk Road has changed history and explore what it was like to travel along it, check out these ten amazing documentaries about the Silk Road. From its perilous crossing through the Gobi Desert to its vibrant markets in India, this list of films captures a vivid and engaging portrait of one of humanity’s most iconic trade routes. With stories from both sides of the route, you’ll gain an appreciation for the incredible people and cultures that made this network possible. Prepare to be transported back in time and explore the Silk Road like never before!


1. The Silk Road – Light From Darkness

Journey From Light to Dark – An exploration of the Silk Road’s impact on the global landscape. Through its winding paths, this ancient trade route spread culture and disease alike, transforming civilizations in its wake. This documentary delves into how these changes affected our world today, from medicine to religion and beyond. Follow the story of the Silk Road as it reveals an untold history of humanity, with all its successes and hardships. Uncover the secrets hidden within this path that brought us from light to darkness. What will we find along the way? Find out in this gripping documentary about a pivotal part of our shared past.


2. How the Silk Road Made the World

The Silk Road stands as one of humanity’s most remarkable endeavors. Spanning across the vast expanse of Eurasia for thousands of years, this trade route has played a pivotal role in shaping history. Its impact on the rise and fall of empires, its influence on revolutions, and its profound effect on civilizations cannot be overstated. In this episode, we delve into the intricate connection between the Silk Road and conflicts, from the evolution of cavalry warfare to the advent of gunpowder.


3. Lost Treasures of the Silk Road

China’s millennia-old history has held many mysteries and secrets, which have long kept Westerners in awe. Recent archaeological discoveries suggest that contact between East and West predates traditional assumptions. The famed Silk Road is a prime example of how ancient civilizations connected distant lands over land and sea to form an extensive network of trade.


4. Uzbekistan – The Silk Road by train

Uzbekistan stretches between the majestic Gissar Mountains and the vast Aral Sea. This captivating country is characterized by seemingly boundless sandy deserts and lush oases, and it once held immense influence as a regional power. For millennia, the Silk Road served as the sole mode of transportation, with the noble camel leading the way. However, this changed when Russia annexed the territory, ushering in an era of progress with the construction of a railway network. Today, the Silk Road Express remains the primary transportation route, connecting the verdant east of Uzbekistan with the arid deserts of the west. Since gaining independence in 1991, Uzbekistan has flourished as an independent republic. In recent years, significant efforts have been made in the city of Samarkand to entice and captivate tourists. Notably, the city boasts a dedicated tourist police force, with its most celebrated members being the remarkable twin sisters Fatima and Zukhra. Prior to joining the force, they both served as English teachers. Their patrol area encompasses the iconic Registan Square, where they navigate a constant stream of photo requests while ensuring the safety and well-being of visitors.


5. China’s New Silk Road: the Project of the Century

Chinese President Xi Jinping has hailed it as the ‘project of the century.’ Since 2013, China has made substantial investments to propel the ‘Middle Kingdom’ to the forefront of global economics and international politics. What China refers to as ‘The New Silk Road’ has enabled the transportation of a pair of trainers from China to France in under two weeks. However, it also serves as a vessel for Chinese expansionism worldwide. In Gwadar, Pakistan, China is currently developing a massive port and a breathtaking highway that traverses the Himalayas, facilitating access to warm seas. Along the newly established railway line in Central Asia, near their Russian borders, Chinese entrepreneurs have established special economic zones and even casinos amidst the desert. Beyond Beijing, in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, the Chinese government has recently established a military port in close proximity to American and French bases, while also constructing a state-of-the-art railway system to serve Ethiopia. Following these strategic moves, Chinese businesses are eagerly venturing into the East African markets, with hopes of transforming the region into one of the world’s new manufacturing hubs.


6. How did The Silk Road Actually Work?

The Silk Road has been the ultimate frontier for travelers, merchants, and explorers since time immemorial. It was a passageway of trade that connected the East with the West centuries ago, where exotic goods traveled from one continent to another. Whether it be precious gems or spices, these wares were exchanged from one merchant to another along this ancient road in an effort to civilize the world. DNBD takes you on a journey into this remarkable historical period, with captivating visuals and insightful interviews from experts in the field. Come experience the romance and adventure of the Silk Road through our documentaries! From tales of legendary travelers to stories of merchants peddling their wares, the Silk Road has it all! Open your eyes to a new world and journey into history with the series.


7. China’s New Silk Road in Europe

This documentary delves into three significant locations situated along the European section of the “21st century Silk Road.” These include the inland port of Duisburg, Liège with its expansive cargo airport, and the emerging Alibaba logistics hub, as well as the prominent Italian seaport of Genoa. The film uncovers the extent to which these locations are already integrated into the Chinese trade network, while also examining the prospects of the “21st century Silk Road” in light of China’s zero-COVID strategy and its partnership with Russia. Is this endeavor a blessing or a curse for those seeking to reap its benefits?


8. CNN | The Silk Road Story

The Silk Road has been a symbol of international trade and global exploration for centuries. This storied network of trading routes connected Asia, Europe, and Africa, opening up links to distant civilizations in a way that would eventually bring us to where we are today. A CNN documentary brings the history of the Silk Road to life, exploring its origins and its impact on global commerce. The documentary takes viewers back to the days when Marco Polo struck out with his caravan from Italy to China, beginning a great journey that would take him thousands of miles through some of the most remote areas of Central Asia. Viewers will get the chance to witness firsthand how this extraordinary venture changed the course of history, as well as how it shaped today’s world.


9. The Dark Side Of The Silk Road

The Silk Road is an ancient trade route that has captivated minds for centuries. It was once the backbone of East-West trading, connecting different cultures and stimulating the global economy. But there is a side to the Silk Road that few people know—a hidden tale untold until now. In this documentary series we explore a part of history rarely discussed or revealed. We’ll dive deep into the untold stories that make up the Silk Road’s epic journey, uncovering secrets and tales that have been passed down through generations. From its rich and varied history to its influence on global commerce, we will discover how this ancient trade route has shaped modern society in ways we never imagined.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B