Dr Sam Willis begins his journey in Venice. There he looks at how Renaissance art and architecture has been influenced by the East, with many exchanges along the Silk Road, from Venice to China's ancient capital, Xian.
Dr Sam Willis travels west to central Asia, to a part of the Silk Road that is often overlooked, and yet is the place of major innovations, big historical characters, and the Sogdians, whose role was pivotal to its success.
Sam begins in the legendary city of Persepolis, heart of the first Persian Empire. Following an ancient caravan route through Persia's deserts, he visits a Zoroastrian temple where a holy fire has burnt for 1,500 years.
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