This is a simple (but free and ad-free) app to pretend to walk the Silk Road. It is currently in beta test, determining if there is sufficient interest. We successfully raised the money for art, so the app will be released fall 2021.

Most importantly, the World History Encyclopedia liked the app idea, and is promoting it to their subscribers (of which I am one) and may advise me on some of the content.

If released, the app will have 3 paths initially, between:

  • Tyre, Lebanon and Samarkand, Uzbekistan
  • Antalya, Turkey and Samarkand, Uzbekistan
  • Ctesiphon, Iraq and Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Because we raised enough funds for more images, I will add these soon:

  • Samarkand, Uzbekistan and Turfan (near Ürümqi!), China
  • Samarkand, Uzbekistan and Chang’an China (known today as Xi’an)

With enough interest, it would be great to add southern routes between Kashgar, Balkh, and Qutb Minar (Delhi) — thought to be the route of Buddhism out of India.

Users can walk the roads in either direction.

The app will allow users to submit other roads (spreadsheet and images) which will be shared. There might be a one-time cost ($0.99) for using shared roads.

Trading: Just for fun

When you reach major milestones, you will be able to ‘trade’ for items typical of that location in the time of the Silk Roads. I have taken liberties with time such that trade goods from different places might have been common in different eras. But such is the fun of a virtual experience.

Trading concept. All art will be replaced by original art.

You will start out with wool, cotton, and Byzantine coins if traveling west to east, or silk and paper if going east to west. The prize goods available in some locations will be Central Asian manuscripts from the ‘Lost Enlightenment’ of the 8th-12th centuries.

Why Samarkand?

Ever since I can remember, ‘Samarkand’ evoked an exotic, exciting, very different world. I didn’t know anything about it, probably heard it mentioned in the movies, “Tales of Arabian Nights”, stories of Marco Polo or other random source, might even have been comic books! But ‘Samarkand’ stuck in my brain as exciting and ‘cool’.

I became interested in world history in my 40s, and started reading about the Silk Roads. I have recently returned to that interest and am reading a half dozen books on the history of Central Asia and the Silk Roads. Peter Frankopan’s “The Silk Roads” was my favorite book read in 2020 and S. Frederick Starr’s book “Lost Enlightenment” is my favorite book read so far in 2021.

And I love archaeology — what better place for that? Çatalhöyük, Antakya (Antioch), Jerusalem, Damascus, Ctesiphon (ancient capital of Persia), Isfahan, Yazd, Nishapur, Ashgabat, Jeitun, Merv, Bukhara, Samarkand — I’m coming!

Is this educational?

Maybe not strongly educational, but I hope it will increase interest and awareness of the awesome history (many images are archeological) of Central Asia.

Other history games from PhosphorLearn

We have also created a history trivia set of games in Puddle Hopping, a free app, and Mixed-Up Museum, a free online 3D game. We also have a game idea Threads for classroom use.

Comments and Support

Please send any feedback, comments, suggestions, bugs to our feedback page:

Current plans, bugs, comments on bugs, and FAQ are on our Trello board: