The Turkic section of the Silk Road was a highway which gave rise to a number of towns with their flourishing economy, numerous commercial and handicraft settlements, caravansarais that lived and worked thanks to and for the Silk Road.
The pioneer of the Great Silk Road as considered by the historic tradition was Chzan Tsan, a Chinese diplomat who lived in the 1st century B. C. The fact that Central Asia had been carrying on trade with Tien-Shan is verified by a big amount of Chinese coins, bronze looking-glasses, silk remnants, fragments of china of Chinese production which have been found by archeologists. Thanks to China silkworm breeding and paper manufacturing began developing in Central Asia whereas it was Central Asia from which China took up cultivation of grapes, alfalfa, onion, cotton, pomegranate, walnut, fig-trees and cucumbers.
According to Chzan Tsan in one of the Central Asia states, namely, Davani (Fergana) there were about seventy big towns and settlements the population of which numbered several hundred thousand. “The Davanites” he wrote in his report “On a trip to western lands” to Emperor U-Di “lead a settled life, they are engaged in farming, grow rice and wheat. They have wine. There are many fast horses. These horses have blood sweat, they come of heavenly horses”. The term heavenly horses in China were referred to akhaltekin horses that were highly appreciated. Lee Bo (701-762), a great Tannic lyric poet of Suie-Suyab (now the town of Tokmak in Kirghizia) in his “Song of a heavenly steed” wrote: “If early in the morning you mount this steed and start from the northern part of the Hebei province, then by the evening it will bring you to the lower course of the Yangtze river”.
Unfortunately, there are only scraps left of the first pages of the history of the Great Silk road just as of the history of pre Islam Central Asia in general. Greek, Latin and Chinese chronicles have kept and brought to us far more facts than the local ones. The great Khoresmian Abu Reikhan Mohammed ibn Ahmed A1 Buruni bitterly exclaimed in his youthful treatise “A paper on ancient epochs and systems of chronology”: “And Kuteiba killed the people who knew the Khoresmian written language, told their legends and taught sciences that the Khorezm people had and subjected them to torments and those torment became so secret that it is impossible to find out for sure what happened to the people even after the appearance of Islam”.
Indeed, in 712 Kuteiba ibn Moslim, an Arab vicegerent of Khorasan in the time of Suleiman invaded Khorezm and destroyed the civilization. He gave orders to put to death all the scholars who knew the history of their land in order to exterminate from the people’s memory the ideology of the pre-Islam times. Fire absorbed all the manuscripts. Thus, very valuable information was lost forever, otherwise we could have known everything about the winding paths of trade caravans.
Rakip Nasyrov, “Along the Great Silk Road”, published by “Kramds—reklama”, 1991.