The second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) will be held later this month in Beijing, but the ancient Silk Road that inspired the 21st-century Chinese proposal - the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) - goes back thousands of years.
And archeological relics found throughout the Belt and Road region are proof of the cultural exchanges and economic ties that had already bound Asia and Europe centuries ago.
Cultural exchanges in the desert
The ancient Silk Road actually does not refer to one single road, but rather to a road network that threaded across eastern, central and western Asia all the way to the Mediterranean.
Just like the modern-day Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, there were two general paths: By land and by sea.