The Silk Road

Discover the cultures along one of the world’s oldest trade routes

The Silk Road is one of the world's oldest trade routes. For hundreds of years, not only merchandise changed hands here: it was also a place from which religions and cultures spread.


To start with

»I have not told the half of what I saw.«

Marco Polo

READING: »Incense in exchange for gunpowder«. Silk was not the only commodity: a (short) history of the (long) trade route

DISCOVERY: Elbphilharmonie explains: The instruments of the Silk Road introduced in short videos and descriptions

LISTENING: A playlist of music from »The Orient«

TASTING: The Elbphilharmonie team has tried out some traditional dishes. You can find the recipes here (in German).

A trip down the Silk Road :5 musical stages

Majid Derakhshani
Majid Derakhshani © Ali Bahrami / Sara Sabaghian

1. Iran

ElphiAtHome: Iranian musician Majid Derakhshani can be heard in a recital streamed from the empty Elbphilharmonie. Derakhshani plays the long-necked lute tar and is accompanied on the santur by Saeid Zamani.

2. Afghanistan

The musical worlds of Afghanistan: about the versatile culture of the multi-ethnic state and the Ensemble Safar, who presents classical pieces from the golden age of Afghan music.

Samarkand © Jamshid Kholikulov / Pexels

3. Uzbekistan

Uzbek songs: About the classic Uzbek song cycle Shashmaqam and the artist Gulzoda Khudoynazarova, who has an impressive command of this music.

4. Mongolia

The music of Mongolia: Discover the sound of the horsehead violin and the secrets of overtone singing with the Egschiglen and Khusugtun ensembles.

Peking Opera
Peking Opera © Jon Arnold Images / Alamy Stock Foto

5. China

In Buddha's footsteps: It wasn't only merchandise that changed hands on the Silk Road. Music, religions and doctrines likewise travelled from East to West and the other way round.

The Silk Road and its musical cultures would have been the focus of the Easter festival at the Elbphilharmonie in April 2020. The artists presented above as well as many other top musicians from the countries along the traditional trade route were therefore invited to Hamburg. Due to the coronavirus pandemic the »Silk Road«-Festival had to be cancelled .

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