China is considered as the origins of the Silk Roads because, based on different resources, it was the Chinese who discovered the silk and then started to cultivate it for commercial purposes and sent out emissaries to the West, contacts which eventually led to the booming exports of this gossamer product.
Probably the first person who traveled the Silk Roads was the Chinese Zhang Qian that set out for West in the 2nd century BC to seek out allies against the troublesome Huns. After a series of adventures, Zhang returned home 13 years later with rich knowledge about kingdoms and peoples from far away.
Based on historians, the Chinese portion of the Silk Roads which ran for 4,000 kilometers began in Chang'an (Modern city of Xi'an) and was divided into at least two separate routes for avoiding the deadly Taklamakan Desert. They passed then through Kashgar and on to the Central Asia. During more than 2,000 years of trade along the Silk Roads, several cities with commercial, cultural and religious centers were built alongside these routes while local and ethnic cultures flourished and enriched along them.