The silk road was about 8000 km long and the longest and oldest route in the world. As the most important route in the world, it connects the East of Asia into Europe and Africa through Iran.
The main Silk Road reaches to Mashhad from two routes. The North one was from Marv to Sarakhs, and Tous. The South one was from Haraat. It goes from Mashhad to Neyshabour, Azadvaar, Jovein Plain, Jajarm, Bastaam, passing the North of the desert into Damqan, Semnan and Rey. It was separated from Rey into two routes again. The South one was going to Hamadan (Ekbatan), Passing the Zagros Mountain Ranges into Kangavar, Kermanshah, Qasreshirin, Bagdad and the Mediterranean Sea. The North one, passing through the Alborz Mountain ranges goes to Tabriz, passing from the North of the Lake Urmia, Arzrom and Trabozon Port and from the Black Sea to Europe.
In different eras after Islam, some other routes were added to the main Silk Road. One of them was the road used by the Moslem Pilgrims to Mecca. The other was the passenger route to India which is known as the Spice Road. The glory of developing caravansaries was in Safavids Dynasty in 16th century A.D. Shah-Abbas ordered to build 999 caravansaries and located them inside the cities too. The development of of caravansaries continued during Qajars Dynasty too, but during Pahlavis Dynasty they became useless because of building the railroads and asphalt roads. Nowadays, some caravansaries are managed by private sectors; they are being used as accommodation, restaurants and other traditional services to the tourists.
Some of the most famous caravansaries in Iran are as follows:
Shah-Abbasi Caravansary in Isfahan (Hotel), Deyregachin Caravansary in Qom (the Mother of Caravansaries), Miyandasht Caravansary in Meyamey (the greatest and the most complete Caravansary), Zeynoddin Caravansary in the South of Yazd Provence (the rectangular Shaped Caravansary), Robaat-Sharaf near Sarakhs (the masterpiece of break-works in the world), Behistun Caravansary in Kermanshah Provence (Hotel), Kharanaq Caravansary in Yazd Provence (eco-camp), Khanat Caravansary in Tehran (Restaurant), Sadolsaltaneh Caravansary in Qazvin (bazaar and restaurant), Shah-Abbasi Caravansary in Neyshabour (Precious stone bazaar), Babaqodrat Caravansary in Mashhad (Restaurant), Maranjaab Caravansary near Aran-o-Bidgol (eco-camp in desert), Dehnamak Caravansary near Garmsaar (eco-camp and restaurant), Lasjerd Caravansary near Semnan (eco-camp and restaurant), Khaneh-Nazar Caravansary near Jolfa (eco-camp), Madar-Shah Caravansary near Isfahan, Veyrani Robaat near Mashhad, Ahowan Stone Robaat near Semnan, Qasre-Bahram and Eynorrashid Caravansaries in National park of Iran desert, Pasangan Caravansary in Qom, Toroq Robaat in Mashhad, Kalmard Caravansary in Tabas, Gougad Citadel in Golpayegan, Abbasi Caravansary in Karaj, Shah-Abbasi Caravansary in Sabzevar, Mirza-Abolhasan Caravansary in the great bazaar of Tabriz, Bazaar Caravansary in Hamedan, Izadkhast Caravansary in Fars province, etc.