Marco Polo, upon finally reaching Hangzhou in the far east, described it as "the City of Heaven, the most beautiful and magnificent in the world." Welcome to the Pearl of China.
The journey of endless steps crossing high and low extremes comes to a beautiful conclusion in the heart of Hangzhou, the “House of Silk.” Merchants, explorers, sailors and nobles have landed in Hangzhou over hundreds of years with a seemingly similar expression - wow! Beautifully crafted streets and waterways formed a symphonic balance in the city. Towering temples of multiple faiths are some of the most beautiful around. Endless silk, along with tea and porcelain flow out of the city as if sand in exchange for exotic foreign goods. In the 12th century, the height of the Silk Roads, Hangzhou was undoubtedly the worlds largest city, harboring more than one million people. It is perhaps not an exaggeration when Marco Polo said Hangzhou was “the greatest city in the world.” From the early centuries to today, Hangzhou revolves around a freshwater lake known as West Lake. Gardens, pagodas, temples and bridges form one of the best fusions of nature and man in existence. It is the heartbeat of the city, and nothing quite beats a gentle stroll along the calm waters. And it is also a place to slow down and contemplate your incredible journey. What did you learn? What interactions have left you speechless? What treasure have you stored up in your heart? Take some time to write your thoughts, and be sure sure to stockpile goods for the long road home. Or do you even want to go home? It’s an open road from here. Congratulations for completing history’s greatest journey through the veins of the world.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here
We have crossed through this city several times in our travels, albeit a little less dramatic than the Silk Roads. We often visited by high speed rail.
Simply the West Lake, despite it being so busy. A stroll through here transported us back in time in ancient China.
Strolling through what once was the world's greatest city, imagining the splendor it must have been to experience one thousand years ago.