Putin launches Silk Road adventure

 AFP Photo / Koji Sasahara
Distinguished Russian traveler Fyodor Konyukhov has begun a daring camel trek across Asia with twelve of his comrades. They hope to make new discoveries about the ancient Silk Road trade route on the 6,000km trip.

The ambitious expedition, which unites around 500 rotating travelers and scientists, kicked off in Mongolia’s Ulan Bator on Wednesday. Entitled “The Silk Road”, the undertaking is aimed at collecting historical materials about trade routes of the past.

The travelers will pass through Mongolia, Altai and Kazakhstan before finishing in Kalmykia in late October – the month the republic marks its 400th anniversary of annexation to Russia.

Russian PM Vladimir Putin kicked off the journey in the republic of Mongolia and joked that he may even join in at some point.

Konyukhov's landmark trips

Fyodor Konyukhov in Greenland (Photo from http://konyukhov.ru)

Fyodor Konyukhov made his first voyage when he was 15 years old. He crossed the Sea of Azov on a fishing boat. Since then he has made up to 50 risky voyages, traversing the Atlantic 14 times. He is the first and only traveler to have reached the five extreme Poles of the planet. In 2004 he set a world record for crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a maxi yacht.

An ancient international trade and culture route, the Silk Road served as a bridge between the East and West for 2,000 years. German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen named it “The Silk Road” because silk was one of the main items of trade in the late 19th century.