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Roads of the World: History and the Present Day

By Cherdabayev, Timur

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Book Id: WPLBN0100303201
Format Type: PDF (eBook)
File Size: 44.41 MB.
Reproduction Date: 2/6/2013

Title: Roads of the World: History and the Present Day  
Author: Cherdabayev, Timur
Volume:
Language: English
Subject: Non Fiction, Technology, Road construction
Collections: History, Authors Community
Historic
Publication Date:
2013
Publisher: Aldongar Culture Development Foundation
Member Page: Meirzhan

Citation

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Cherdabayev, T. (2013). Roads of the World. Retrieved from http://cn.worldlibrary.net/


Description
The book is devoted to roads, their origin and development throughout the centuries. Their history started along with the appearance of humans, their first paths, first attempts to expand the borders of their habitat. The chronicles of road connections should be considered as the history of humankind in the spatial domain at the crossroads of which the fates of nations and cultures converged and intertwined. The appearance of roads is directly related to the invention of the wheel thousands of years ago. These were the first trading routes of ancient civilizations, the routes used to transport people, knowledge and goods, ensuring cultural, scientific and economic exchange between towns and settlements of the inhabited part of the planet. Roads attained even greater importance in the times of the Roman Empire, being the key elements of its military expansion. The Roman roads were inherited by medieval Europe, and some of them, now covered with asphalt, are still used. The transcontinental Great Silk Road, which connected the east and west of Eurasia, is still there, too. And today, in the epoch of flourishing of scientific and technical progress, when humans are successfully using transportation by sea and air and have conquered the nearest space, roads still play the important role of “arteries” that feed the social, cultural and economic needs of our society. This book is not just a historical research. It covers such deep and burning issues of modernity as globalization and its origins, transportation safety, environment-friendly technologies of road construction and many other things. As a rule, we do not pay special attention to ordinary things that surround us. However, many of them form the basis for our comfortable everyday existence. Roads are among them. We hardly ask ourselves about their history in the era of high speeds and the large amount of information that tumbles down on us every second. This book will help you look at roads from a different angle and remind you once more about their important role and significance in the modern world.

Summary
The book dwells on historical aspects of the world’s road and construction industry development, starting from the very first paths of humankind, first routes and ways of goods and people land transportation in the epoch of the ancient civilizations and up to present-day road systems, current trends in the development of highway and state road infrastructures in different countries, including Kazakhstan. The author of the book, who devoted his professional activity to the construction of roads and road infrastructure in Kazakhstan, proposes a look at the history of road connections in the world as an important part of the history of humankind where roads are among the key factors in civilization development. The book contains rare facts from the world history of roads and refers to many literary sources devoted to this subject. Despite the fact that the book is written in the popular science style and addressed to the widest circle of readers, it can be very interesting for road industry specialists and students of specialized educational institutions. The book is divided into eight chapters. The first two chapters contain a narrative of how our world developed and the first civilizations evolved: these are likely to interest the most inquisitive reader most of all; the third chapter, one touching on ancient Rome, outlines the most important aspects of the famous Roman road building practices which made up the earliest professional road building system in human history; chapters four, five and six serve to fill the time gap between the historical example set by the Romans and the roads of the modern age: these chapters will interest out reader not so much in terms of road development per se, as they will in terms of the geopolitical repartitioning events which formed the modern world map. Chapters 7 and 8 form the most subject-specific part of this book and can be recommended to all those who would like to know more about the characteristics of modern road systems and their historical background. The closing section of this book provides additional data concerning the modern highway and its key structural elements and also presents a number of figures and the sites of road systems of different countries as parts of the global transport system.

Excerpt
In those distant times, traveling was always an unsafe business, so every merchant had to consider the risks of it. The road was rarely even, not to mention picturesque. It typically ran through a desert, often stony, with camels’ skeletons strewn all around—eerie marks, indeed, but useful for any traveler to use them for road signs. Piercing cold in winter and unbearable heat in summer. Ever-nagging thirst, fostered by the need to conserve water. Constant anticipation of storms or encounters with nomads—nobody knew which of the two was worse. Finally, sporadic towns and oases where the odds of finding a hearty welcome were much lower than those of facing tolls and charges. The Great Silk Road was never a single highway, but rather a system which incorporated multiple branches of caravan routes which took different passes through mountain ranges, skirting the deserts. Originally, the Silk Road took off at Chang’an, China’s ancient capital, and ran along the northern Tian Shan toward Dunhuang, a city near the end of the Great Wall of China. Here the single Road forked to by-pass the Taklamakan desert from the north and from the south. The northern branch ran through Turpan to the valley of the Ili River. The middle one (the so-called Southern way) traveled from Gaochang to the southern coast of Issyk Kul, from which, via Khotan and Yarkant, it went to Bactria (North Afghanistan). There the Southern Way split again to form two other routes: one of them led to India, the other steered westward to reach Merv, where it merged with the Northern way. Further, having passed Nisa, the capital of Parthia, it went on through Iran, Mesopotamia, then, via Baghdad, led to Damascus and beyond to finally reach the Mediterranean. The third route, the most difficult of them, was called the Steppe way. Having crossed the Tian Shan, some of the caravans that traveled along it, via the Fergana valley and the Tashkent oasis, headed for Samarkand, Bukhara, Khwarezm to reach the Caspian coast. Other caravans from Samarkand journeyed to Bactria and, after crossing the Kashkadarya valley, ended up in Termez; from there, fording the Amu Darya River, they proceeded to the Near East and India. Aside from the three main routes we mentioned, the Silk Road also comprised other roads linking all three of them together. The seaborne part of the Great Silk Road started in Alexandria and Egypt, crossed the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean and landed at ports of the western coast of India. From there the route proceeded to Bactria, to the city of Termez, and then, down the Amu Darya River, to Khwarezm and the Caspian Sea. Further, it crossed the territory of Albania (Azerbaijan), Iberia and Colchis (Georgia), reached the Black Sea and headed for Rome. This was the shortest way from India to South-Caucasian countries. The Caucasian Silk Road started in ancient Samarkand; from there it traveled to Khwarezm, went around the Caspian Sea, crossed the steppes of the North Caucasus, and then went down to the city of Tskhumi. Leaving Tskhumi, trade caravans sailed across the Black Sea to land at Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Another important road went from the Lower Volga Region along the western shore of the Caspian Sea, via Derbent known as the Caspian Iron Gate, to the south, to ancient Albania and Parthia, connecting the northern and the main routes of the Great Silk Road. As time went by, the routes sustained changes whenever the current political environment so required. Thus, in the VI–VIII centuries the main route was the one that comprised Syria—Iran—Central Asia—South Kazakhstan—the Talas valley—the Chuya valley—the Issyk Kul hollow—East Turkestan. The heaviest traffic could be observed along the section which led through Central Asia. Eventually, the routes along which caravans traveled called into existence and brought prosperity to rich cities, trade and crafts communities, caravanserais. Some examples are: Merv in Turkmenia; Bukhara, Samarkand, Urgench and Khiva in Uzbekistan; Otrar in Turkestan, Taraz, Isfijab in Kazakhstan; Dzhul, Suyab, Novokent, Balasagun, Barskaun, Tash-Rabat, Osh, Uzgen in Kyrgyz. Today they form a “necklace” around which the main Central Asian tourist routes are oriented.

Table of Contents
1. World’s Origins. Population Spread 2. First States 3. Ancient Rome. Secrets of the Empire 4. The Middle Ages. Drawing New Boundaries 5. The Age of Great Geographical Discoveries. The New Continent 6. Island Isolationism. Japan 7. The Modern Era. The Automobile 8. On the Verge of Globalization. US Roads Appendices

 
 



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