Turpan Beziklik Buddhist Caves
5. The Twilight of the Silk Road
Around the time that Central Asia was becoming both Islamified and dominated by Turkic peoples, the world was seeing great changes in systems governing the movement of goods.
In the northern part of Central Asia, for example, a route running east- west through the steppe, which had long been an insignificantly small trade route grew greatly in importance.
Maritime trade, something which had long been monopolized by Islamic merchants, gained in significance as well. The discovery of new sea routes by Europeans became the decisive factor in reducing the importance of Central Asia for trade.
With these new routes for moving goods, Central Asia slowly lost its significance and later fell into oblivion.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, with its former prosperity long gone, Central Asia once again began to attract attention.
This time, though, it attracted attention as a geographical vacuum, luring explorers from all over the world (09).