China - the most ancient civilization in the world
China along with India, Egypt and Mesopotamia (modern Iraq and Iran) is an ancient civilization aged more than 5,000 years old. The Chinese culture features an abundance of the material and spiritual values, unchanged over millennia. In spite of the influence from outside and numerous invasions, the Chinese culture preserved its individuality and unique identity.
Many of the achievements of the mankind date back to the Chinese civilization. China became a birth-place of gun powder and paper. It is here where the Great Silk Road sprang from, becoming a sui generis linking bridge between the East and the West. Starting from Sian, the former capital of ancient China, the Great Silk Road ended at the Mediterranean seashore. It is this road, by which China exported paper, silk, gun powder, precious stones, oriental spices to Europe. The Great Silk Road played an important role in formation of Chinese culture, because it was the route, by which Buddhism, one of the main religions of Chinese civilization, found its way to the Heavenly Empire.
Chinese culture includes customs and traditions, music, dances, painting, language, cuisine, clothing and applied art. Of special note is Chinese written language. The Chinese written language, one of the world’s ancient languages is unique in its own way, since even now the Chinese write with the help of the same alphabet that was used five thousand years ago. First the Chinese were writing on wooden plates, then on silk and at the turn of our era, they invented paper.
China is not only the birth-place of paper, but also of book printing. It was there, where a book was printed in the X century for the first time, several centuries before the first book - the Johannes Gutenberg Bible, printed in Europe. With the advent of book printing, China made a considerable leap in the development of literature and scientific knowledge. A great many works in different fields of history and archeology were published, demonstrating the great interest of the Chinese people in their past. Wide spread of book printing encouraged written reflection of folk creativity works.
Over the whole history of Chinese literature, each of the existing epochs left the valuables inimitable in their originality and variety to descendants. Chinese culture exerted great influence on the development of culture of numerous neighboring countries, and a great number of leading nations of the medieval world. A considerable contribution to the development of world culture was made by Chinese culture.