The Silk Road, a name coined by German scholar, von Richthofen, was not exactly a road. It is made up of land and water routes along its entire length and has three major routes from the capital of the Tang dynasty, Chang An (present day Xi An) to distant Europe, via Central Asia, West Asia and Africa. While fabric was the most important trading item, silk was known to be transported along other items like gold, ivory and plants. Half the Silk Road is located in the China province of Xinjiang, today a place of many cultures and ethnic groups. The Silk Road was responsible for the spread of religions throughout China, most notably Buddhism from India and the Chinese classic; Journey to the West was based loosely on Xuan Sang, a Buddhist monk traveling along the Silk Road. Marco Polo was another famous Silk Road traveler. The Italian teenager had traveled with his merchant family from Venice along the Southern route to the court of Kublai Khan in Khanbalik (present day Beijing). The Silk Road lost its importance in the 14th century. It's a wonder we still remember it, isn't it?