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Khotan Travel Guide

As one of the popular travel destinations in Xinjiang, where you can not only visit the historical sites but also buy some Khotan Jade.

Introduction of Khotan:

Located in the southern part of Xinjiang and on the southern fringes of the Taklamakan desert, Khotan Prefecture covers an area of 189 thousand kilometers, with a population of nearly 180 ten thousand. It has under its administration one city(Hetian) and 7 counties (Pishan, Moyu, Hetian, Lop, Qira, Yutian, and Minfeng). The Khotan Prefecture is the place where the kingdoms of Pishan, Yutian, Yumi, Qulei, Jingjue, and Ronglu were established in ancient times. From the Western Han Dynasty on, it had come officially under the jurisdiction of the Governor-general Government Administrating the Western Countries. In the 2nd year of the Shangyuan period of the Tang Dynasty( 675 A .D), the Pisha Superintendent Office was established here. During the Yuan Dynasty, here was the fief of a Mongolian imperial prince. In the 24th year of the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty, the Hetian Executive Ministers Office was set up here. In 1977, the Administrative Office of Khotan Prefecture was set up.


The climate and the specialties of Khotan:

Khotan Prefecture is dominated by a dry continental desert climate. It has abundant mineral resources. Khotan jade has been famous for its variety and high quality since ancient times. At present, Khotan Prefecture teems with corn, wheat and rice, and has numerous factories, mines and other enterprises, including electric power, coal-mining, silk, cotton textile, carpet-weaving, and cement plants, etc. Civil airports here link Khotan with Urumqi and other cities and highway communications here is also convenient.


Ancient Cultural Sites:

Khotan has a lot of important ancient cultural sites, among them, the sites of Yotkan, Niya, Dandan-oiliq, and Malikawat, the Rawak Stupa, and the ancient city of Kara-dong have renowned at home and abroad for a long time.


The Religious Culture of Khotan

Xinjiang Khotan was one of the regions where Buddhism was introduced earliest in China, as early as during the 1st century B.C. Buddhism was introduced to Khotan which became one of the earliest Buddhist cultural centers in the Western. Khotan was known as ‘Buddhist Kingdom Khotan’ . Famous monks such as Faxian of the Jin Dynasty, Xuanzang of the Tang Dynasty and others had all left their footprint in Khotan. The prosperity of Buddhist Kingdom, it left many ancient towns and Buddhist sites, such as the Niya Ruins, the Teyuegan Ruins, where a large amount of precious cultural relics were unearthed. In the 11th century, with the eastward spread of Islamism, people in Khotan gradually converted to believe in Islamism.


Three Famous Specialty in Khotan

1) Atlas Silk

With fertile land and adequate sunshine, Khotan was very suitable for sericulture development. As a famous town on the Silk Road, Khotan was the earliest production base of sericulture in Xinjiang and brocade and fine silk producing centre. Archaeological findings proved that as early as 2000 years ago, Khotan people already mastered the process of sericulture, spinning and dyeing. Silk trade flourished. Altas silk is a speciality of Khotan. In Han Chinese, it is commonly referred to as “Khotan flowery silk”, meaning ‘tie-dyed-silk’. Its soft texture and gorgeous colours are made using the old tie-dye method. It is light and elegant with unrestrained and rough patterns of many variations.

2) Carpet

Xinjiang Khotan is also known as the hometown of 'carpets'. As early as during the Tang Dynasty, there were shops dealing in Khotan felts and carpets in Chang'an, during the Qing Dynasty, local officials from Khotan included Khotan carpets in the list of tributes to the imperial court. Khotan carpets have eye-catching colors, elegant tones, delicate patterns, exuding unique Uighur artistic styles and oriental charm, and have high practical value.

3) Khotan Jade

The most famous specially of Khotan area is jade. As early as during the Neolithic Period, Khotan man found gem quality jade in the Kunlun mountain and made it a media for communication between central and western China, as well as for East and West cultural and economic exchange. Transport passage for jade from Khotan emerged as the oldest 'Jade Road', some 1000 years earlier than the Silk Road. It can be said that the Jade Road was the predecessor of the Silk Road during the Han Dynasty, Zhang Qian who traveled to Western Region countries and opened the Silk Road was guided by the Jade Road in the first place. Since then, the Jade Road became all the more smooth. Central Plain merchants shipped to Western Regions large amount of silk and medicinal herbs and brought back jade and native products from the Western Regions on their return. The imperial court built in Gansu the Yumenguan(Jade Gate Pass), implying that the jade is entering the country as of this pass.