On 20 July 1990, UNESCO launched the Desert Route Expedition of the Silk Road in Xi'an, China, the first in a series of five expeditions that formed the “Integral Study of the Silk Roads: Roads of Dialogue”, organized in the framework of the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988–1997).
As a result of this initial study, and for now more than 17 years, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre has supported international cooperation efforts towards the serial transnational World Heritage nomination of the Silk Roads, resulting in one inscription on the World Heritage List, the “Silk Roads: Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor” (China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan), and a number of ongoing identification, conservation and nomination projects along the Silk Roads. The aim of all these activities has been to facilitate the global recognition of the crucial role and relevance of the Silk Roads—not only as tangible heritage but also as routes that allowed a variety of artistic, philosophical, religious and economic exchanges.
During an online meeting on 20 July 2020, the Chinese authorities and UNESCO invited national and international experts to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UNESCO Silk Roads Project and the Launch Ceremony of the Digital Archive of the Silk Roads Project (DAS).This anniversary event was organized by the China National Silk Museum, the Quanzhou Maritime Museum and the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, in coordination with the World Heritage Centre.
In 2022, the website will be revised (some of the original data will be texted)
20 July 2021, an online meeting to celebrate the 31th anniversary of the UNESCO Silk Roads Project and the first version of the DAS website is online