Sharjah: Enchanting tunes of a moon lute synchronised to the rhythm of cymbals and drums beckon travellers as they walk past a caravan of camels, loaded with precious goods, ready for a long journey. Hop on, the caravan is about to embark on a voyage along the Silk Road.
This is the scene of a fascinating exhibition about the fabled trading route that welcomes visitors at the 11th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival.
A network of rough trails, the Silk Road connected China with the prosperous cities of Central Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean for thousands of years.
An ancient highway that connected major cities of the time has had millions of weary travellers through history and it continues to fascinate curious minds even today. The ‘Travelling the Silk Road’ exhibition aims to cater to this fascination.
Centred around four cities Xi’an, Turfan, Samarkand and Baghdad, the interactive exhibition covers the period between 600AD to 1200AD when traffic along the Silk Road was at its peak.
“This is exhibition being organised in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History. It tells us the stories about the time when the fabled Silk Road was at the peak of its success as an international highway not only for the exchange of commerce, but also as a link that connected the developed world of the time and facilitated the coming together of cultures, ideas and innovations,” said Asma Akram, activities officer at Sharjah Book Authority.
Designed to entertain both children as well as adults, the exhibition shows how the ancient trade route wove a fabric of coexistence and harmony through exchange of trade, culture innovation and ideas.
“The Silk Road has a lesson of tolerance and coexistence for all of us. The cities that connected with this road were some of the most cosmopolitan of the time and had people from different parts of the world mixing, coexisting, exchanging ideas and goods and learning together, much like what we have in the UAE today,” added Akram, explaining how the story of the historic route is relevant even in modern times.
The exhibition hosts several interactive installations where children and adults take part in the process of learning historic facts.
Some of the interactive features allow visitors to play traditional musical instruments, take a whiff of exotic fragrances, experience the way medieval Muslim travellers knew time with the use of an astrolabe and much more.
So, if you are fascinated by history and how things moved in the Middle Ages, the exhibition is tailormade for you, transporting you to a world of myriad cultures, fragrances, food and treasure.