(14-16th June) Along the upper reaches of the Yellow River lie a key thoroughfare for ancient traders and explorers, from China to Persia, from Middle East to Europe. Covering an area of 14,620 square kilometers along the Yellow River, it is strategically located at the southern end of the route leading through the Hexi Corridor across Central Asia. This is where Qilian Mountain ranges extend southwards, where it paves a crucial gateway to Xian, the ancient capital. This place, endowed by the natural protection of such unique environment, is Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu Province.
When General Zhang Qian first passed through chains of treacherous hills and boundless sand dunes to the Western Regions in Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 BC), in his deep heart soared a sole goal. However strenuous to achieve the Emperor’s mission, however long he was enslaved by Xiongnu tribe, nothing could dampen him to continue his journey for thousand miles, to ensure alliance against Xiongnu. Following his diplomatic envoys along the route, commercial relations between China and Central Asia, and hence a transcontinental network, known as Silk Road, blossomed at the end of the 2nd century BC.
It was 8 in the morning as the Han River already sparkled under sunlight, reminding stall owners to embark on a brand new day for business in this riverside market in Da Nang. Shopkeepers were hectically pushing heavy carts and packing newly-arrived products, placing them in a place nearby that could immediately caught pedestrian’s heed. Yet, it is more than just a place for trading and selling. In a maze of stuffed stalls and narrow streets, you will be enticed to squeeze through aisles and the big crowds to explore the humming life of one of the open-air Vietnamese marketplaces.