The Silk Road

"The Silk Road cut across borders - and broke down the borders in our minds," says Dr Sam Willis, pictured. In a new three-part series for BBC Four, the historian and writer traces the story of the most famous trade route in history

This was the Silk Road which ran from China's ancient capital Xian through the mythical cities of Central Asia and Persia, until it reached the bazaars of Istanbul and the markets of Venice. It was in Venice and other Italian cities that the ideas, inventions and products that trickled down the Silk Road ignited.

They formed - in part - a movement which we call ‘the Renaissance' - an explosion of new thinking, new art and new inventions. Covering a distance of 5,000 miles and crossing some of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet, Dr Sam Willis reveals how the Silk Road was more than a market place: it was the world's first transcontinental superhighway, along which people with new ideas, new cultures and new religions made exchanges that shaped the development of humanity.

Previous Episode

Episode 3

Episode 1x03; May 15, 2016

In the last episode, Sam continues his journey west in Iran, a country which until recently has been closed to the West and still provokes both fear and fascination in equal measure.

Previous Episodes

Episode NameAirdateTrailer
1x03: Episode 3May 15, 2016
1x02: Episode 2May 8, 2016
1x01: Episode 1May 1, 2016
View full episode list »