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A Comparison of The Eastern Market and The Silk Road

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Eastern Market, demonstrates the collision and merger of cultures, similar to how cultures once interacted along the Silk Road. In both cases long established market places have brought people from across world together in a place where their experiences and cultures can mix and fuse into a globalized environment. Eastern Market is a primarily cultural transfusion, and the Silk Road was socio-religious melting pot, but both have fused civilizations together.

In Eastern Market we encountered the products from many cultures from Turkish rugs and towels to African masks to classic Americana. Of course, this stunning range of products pales in comparison to that of the Silk Road, but is the product of a similar process of globalization. This mixture is exemplified by the salespeople and their customers, almost all of whom are Americans of no distinct ethnicity, and they did not have to match the ethnicity that would classically match their wares. Their customers were even more varied, as a stereotypical white family was seen buying a ritual African mask and an Asian woman bought Turkish towels. These purchases were not made out of any particular interest in an exotic culture, as both of the aforementioned products can also be purchased on Amazon, but because they wanted those products over traditional bath towels and interior design options. This is only possible because of increasing globalization and cross-cultural communication in the modern world.

Or is it? The Silk Road, defined as the network of trade and travel along the mountains of Southern and Central Asia into China and the Middle East on either side, was the route of much slower globalization in its day. Richard. Foltz explains the flow of trade from east to west and the language patterns along it, saying, “Since the western steppes are lower and less arid than the eastern, on the whole there was more westward migration than there was toward the East, which explains why most of the Indo-European languages are found in Europe.” This explains the primeval diaspora of languages in the Indo-European language. This stretches as far back as the merger of Aryan and Indian culture almost five thousand years ago, and the trade between these early cultures and those developing simultaneously in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Religion and the behaviors that accompany it also traveled along the Silk Road. These traditions went along the silk road transported by conversations and trade amongst merchants and travelers who would take them home. As more members of a religious tradition went along the Silk Road and settled away from their homelands more outsiders would be exposed, and possibly converted. From there the original traditions would merge or adapt to the local’s lifestyle and might even split off into a new sect or separate cult. Through these ancient experiences came a slower form of globalization that connected the ancient world’s cultures and peoples across vast distances.

Both of these marketplaces, both ancient and modern, show the mixture of civilizations and how they can merge into new cultures. These markets provide the ideal space for people to find other cultures to incorporate into their own, which can in turn create a new culture all its own. To this end, the Eastern Market and the Silk Road find surprising similarities despite thousands of years of separation.

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A Comparison of the Eastern Market and the Silk Road. (2018, October 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 19, 2022, from
“A Comparison of the Eastern Market and the Silk Road.” GradesFixer, 26 Oct. 2018,
A Comparison of the Eastern Market and the Silk Road. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Jan. 2022].
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