The Gobi Desert marks the ancient frontier between China and Central Asia. For thousands of years it was part of the great Silk Road, where huge camel caravans hauled exotic goods from the Orient to the Middle East and beyond. Because of this the Gobi has always loomed large in the imaginations of westerners, as well as looming large in the culture and history of ancient China. Today it is becoming a popular destination for exotic desert treks. Part of the desert is protected in the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park.
As the great deserts of the world go, the Gobi has always been a relatively active place. Humans have lived in the area almost as far back as their arrival in Central Asia. Located between the great impassable heights of the Himalayas to the south and the frozen plains of Siberia to the north, the Gobi has always made a natural highway between east and west. It thus became and indispensable part of the silk route. Today the desert is currently expanding, something the Chinese government is trying to containg.
The Gobi Desert is an expansive area that spraws over much of central and northwestern China. There are many zones, ranging from grass steppes to deep desert areas. Desertification is primarily caused and maintained by the Himalayas which generally prevent moisture from reaching the region. The Gobi supports a thriving desert ecosystem, and is famous for the huge, double-humped Bactrian camels which make commerce in the region possible.
The Gobi Desert, once the province of merchants and hermits, is growing in popularity with adventure travelers. Visitors brave the ancient wilderness on foot and on camelback, tracing the ancient trade route stops. Many visitors to the Gobi do so at the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park. Web: N/A.
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