Silk Route Festival

Acclaimed as the ‘greatest route in the history of mankind’, the ancient Silk Road formed the first bridge between the East and West and was an important vehicle for trade between the ancient empires of China, India, Persia and Rome. Dating back to 200 BC, the route was a channel for contact between people and cultures, inspiring the exchange of dialogue, art, religion, ideas and technology. With its richly diverse cultural heritage and its wealth of natural tourism attractions spanning across 12,000 kilometers of ancient routes, the modern -day Silk Road offers visitors the opportunity to experience a unique network of destinations, following the footsteps of some of the world’s most acclaimed explorers, such as Alexander the Great and Marco Polo.

Historically the Gilgit-Baltistan Province of Pakistan had close linkages with the central Asia including Peoples Republic of China, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, through different branches of Old Silk Route. Similarly the region was well connected with Ladakh, Tibet and Kashmir. These linkages with the outside regions had lasting impact on communities of Gilgit-Baltistan.. Its unique location – the main trading route between India, China and Central Asia (Silk Route) passed through the area – not only made it a meeting place for traders and pilgrims, but also attracted emperors and conquers from Central Asia and Persia.

The greatest route in the history of mankind.

The Silk Route Festival focuses its activities on the following objectives:

  • The Silk Route will be an established brand, supported by extensive cooperative marketing campaigns
  • The Silk Route will stimulate cooperative campaigns and partnerships between public and private sector
  • Silk Route tourism will act as a vehicle for fostering peace and cultural understanding
  • Governments will value and support the tourism sector and gain significant return for their investment
  • Tourism will drive improved cultural and environmental management
  • Tourism will generate significant direct and indirect employment
  • Silk Road stakeholders will work closely together for mutual benefit.

The Region of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) is a 72,000 Sq. KM mountainous area, located in the north of Pakistan and borders Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) to the east; Afghanistan to the West; Tajikistan, separated by a 25 Miles Wakhan Strip to the North West; Chinese Region of Xingiang in the North and the province of Khyber Pakhtoon Khawa (KPK) in the South. Historically, the region has been a melting pot of influences from Kashmir, Central Asia, and China and hence is a mosaic of five ethnic groups who speak five different languages with 36 dialects.

Geographically, the region is at a confluence of world’s three largest mountain ranges of Karakorum, Himalaya and Hindukush. Apart from four mountains above 8000 Meters, the queen of mountains K2 (second highest in the world)  sits in the Shigar Valley of the GB along with an unparalleled array of 101 peaks of 7000 Meters or above ; 5100 glaciers ; 2200 Sq. Miles of snow covered area; 119 lakes ; diverse flora and fauna and 6500 Sq. KM of forests.

Gilgit-Baltistan, since the Late Stone Age played an eminent role in the exchange of cultural influences, innovative ideas and techniques between High Asia and the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent. Since there are few written records from Chinese and Tibetan sources about this remote area, its rich insufficiently investigated archaeological heritage represents the only medium to reconstruct the still vaguely known rich ancient culture and history of this intermediate region which in its long history until the introduction of the Islam likewise separated and connected the great civilisations of Central and East Asia and the subcontinent, the region `where the empires collide’. An important source for the cultural and historical development of the region as well as the emergence of three kingdoms, Little Palur around Gilgit, Great Palur (Bolor) of the powerful Palola Shahi Dynasty in Baltistan, and the principality of the Dards in the Diamer region during the 1st millennium AD, are numerous rock images and stone inscriptions. These rock art galleries, one of the world’s largest and singular rock art provinces, are spread along the course of the Upper Indus and its tributaries from Indus-Kohistan in the south to Yasin, Hunza and Baltistan in the north.

Culturally, GB is a land of 7 internationally awarded historical sites ; 23 historical forts; 75 polo grounds; 65 archeological sites; more than 40,000 rock carvings , Landmark Monuments and a centuries old culture of hospitality. Gilgit-Baltistan has been influenced by various cultures and civilizations throughout history. Its unique location – the main trading route between India, China and Central Asia (Silk Route) passed through the area – not only made it a meeting place for traders and pilgrims, but also attracted emperors and conquers from Central Asia and Persia. The resulting rich cultural heritage includes a large number of archaeological sites and historical buildings, depicting the long, turbulent history and diverse culture of the area.

The unique geographical and cultural heritage of GB makes it an ideal tourist destination on the Silk Road for domestic and international tourists.

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