For thousands of years, only humans and horses treaded the mountains of Southwest China as they followed an ancient pathway through the Chinese hinterlands and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
Along the unpaved and rugged pathway that was formed, commodities like tea, salt and sugar flowed into Tibet. Meanwhile, horses, cows, furs, musk and other local products made their way to the outside world. The road was called the tea-horse ancient road, and it stretched across more than 4,000 kilometers, mainly through Southwest China's Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
Along the ancient road lived more than 20 minorities.Concentrations of beautiful and mysterious natural landscapes and traditional cultures developed in various sites, including Dali old city, Lijiang old city, Shangrila,Yarlung Zangbo River Grand Canyon, Potala Palace. The road features temples, rock paintings, post houses, ancient bridges and plank roads. It is also home to many national minorities and their dances and folk customs.
Tens of thousands of traveling horses and yaks created a definite pathway with their hooves on the once-indiscernible road. Today, although even such traces of the ancient road are fading away, its cultural and historic values remain.
No matter what is happening in the world, three types of things in the tea-horse ancient road will continue to exist:the beautiful and rustic nature scene, inviolable religion and simple Tibetan people.
This ancient road features the imposing scenery and a soul-stirring quiet. Sometimes, things seem static and the surrounding mountains stand silent. There is a kind of beauty in the desolation that may easily lead people to believe they are experienced a prehistoric place when they visit.