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Turpan

 

The municipality of Turpan is found on the southern side of the Tianshan Mountain in east Xinjiang.  It is well-know as the "City of Grapes ".  Turpan is home to a variety of ethnic people, but it remains a center of Uygur culture where music, dance, costumes, jewelry, rituals, religion, and lifestyle are uniquely those of the Uygur people.  Turpan abounds with a wealth of cultural heritage and has numerous sites of historical interests.  This include the ruins of the acient cities of Yarkhoto and Qoco, the Astana Cemetery , Lord Su's pagoda,a dn the Buzkirik Tousand-Buddha grottoes.  Turpan is also renowned throughout the world for its underground irrigation system which makes it possible for agriculture and oasis to thrive under harsh natural conditions. Deserts, snow-clad mountains, forests, meadowlands, and orchards are  a splendid site in Turpan.

Turpan has been a land of songs and dances since ancient times. Through the generations, the Uygur people have developed a repertoire of numerous performances, the Twelve Mocams, being the most famous one. People would gather around into singing and dancing whenever they hear the beats of music and drums; singing and dancing are part and parcel of the Uygur people's lives.  Visitors are entertained during festivals with rich and varied folklore celebration activities.

Transportation in Turpan is very convenient, with trains and buses available for visitors. The airport operates with some 100 flights.

Turpan is encircled by high mountains on all sides, and with its oceans so far away, it is immune from moist currents.  Rain is such a rarity in summer. Turpan is one of the hottest places in Xinjiang, but many people come here in summer when the grapes are ripe. To get away from the heat, visitors hide under the shade of grape trellises.

Autumn is also a best time to visit Turpan, when there are clear skies, brisk air, and lesser winds.

Main Attractions:

Yarkhato City Ruins - This is the world's oldest and best-preserved legacy of an ancient city of adobe buildings.  The former glory of the place has long turned into piles of debris, dilapidated walls, and bare foundations, however, the city layout, pagodas, monasteries, and alleys are still visible.

Qoco City Ruins - Qoco was the oldest name for Turpan.  Traces of the city can still be seen - the Buddhist temple, though visible has its frontal portal, prayer hall, main hall, scripture library, and monks dormitories all in ruins. 

Underground Irrigation System - This is composed of vertical wells, subterranean tunnels, surfae ditches and ponds.  The local people invented this irrigation technology to tap the abundance of water from underneath the arid gobi desert that surrounds the  Turpan Basin .  A museum in the suburbs of Turpan showcases some information on this underground irrigation system.

Astana Cemetery - Here you will find several thousand tombs dating back to the Jin and Tang dynasties (3rd-8th centuries). The tombs belonged to both officials and commoners of Qoco.  Large amounts of cultural relics have been well-preserved in these tombs.  The hot and dry weather here enabled the remains buried in these tombs to be quickly dehydrated to become mummies that are even more precious than those found in the Pyramids of Egypt. Three of the tombs have been opened to the public to form an underground history museum.

Lord Su's Pagoda -  This pagoda  is dedicated to Emin Khoja, an Uygur hero who ws the ruler and religious leader of turpan during the Qianlong reign of the Qing Dynasty.  After Khoja died, his son Su Laiman had this brick pagoda built in honor of his father.

Buzkirk Thousand-Buddha Grottoes - Buzkirik means decorative painting.  This is the site of the largets group of grottoes enshrined with the most comprehensive range of frescos in Turpan as well as one of the major Buddhist cave-temples in Xinjiang.  All the caves were scooped out from the precipice of the Flaming Mountain .  Its construction began in the 6th century, and it took seven centuries through the Tang, Song and Yuan dynasties to bring the entire project to completion.

Grape Gully - Thick clusters of grapevine trellises will be seen in a ravine that extends 8 km north and south in the Flaming Mountain .  In summer, trees heap up thick layers of foliage to shut off the scorching sun and turn the gully into a nice summer resort.  An amusement park, villas, and a folklore museum have been built for visitors.  Diners in local restaurants are treated to delicacies and entertained with folk singing and dancing.  Cockfight is one of the most traditional sports among the Uygurs in this valley.

Flaming Mountain - This is the hottest place in China . The brownish sandstone of the mountains glows like raging fire, under the intense heat of the sun. During the summer, the temperature reaches as high as 47.8 degrees Celsius and the surface temperature running above 70 degrees Celsius.

Lukyqun Town - It is fan old town with a history of two thousand years.  The mansion built by the king of Turpan for himself during the Qing Dynasty still stands here. This place is also known as the original place of hami melons.  Visitors will enjoy the ancient Mocam music and classical Asian music.

Aydingkol Lake - This is a continental salt lake, which is the lowest place in china, and the second lowest in the world to the Dead Sea in the Jordan Valley . Some 10,000 years ago, it was a freshwater lake; today it is 22 square km, most of which lies naked and covered with salt that glisten in a silver sheen under the sun.  It is also called " Moonlit Lake ", by the natives.

Sand Therapy Sanatorium - The desert around the sand therapy sanatorium is covered by a kind of sand rich in magnetic iron ore particles.  The sand therapy is a combination of sunbathing, thermal and magnetic therapy massage.  This is highly efficacious for the treament of chronic diseases like rheumathritis and hemiplegia.  Every summer, the place full of patients whose bodies or limbs are buried in sand under the scorching sun.  Tents and umbrellas are put up to accommodate patients.

Desert Botanical Garden - This 40-hectare botanical garden is a paradise of rare plants such as Tamarix Chinensis, Medicinal Herbs, Calligonum Mongolicum, Licorice, and Sacsaoul.  It forms a unique tourist attraction along with the man-made vegetation cover and wind-eroded landform.

 

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