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Turpan Travel Guide

As one of the important ancient Silk Road trading post in Xinjiang, Turpan oasis is surrounded by desert and mountains ruined cities and Buddhist caves.

Introduction of Turpan:

It is often said that when hanging clothes out during the summer in Turpan, it will have dried before you're finished. Such is oasis life. With mountains to the north and west and arid desert to the south, Turpan lies in the Turpan Depression at the southern foot of the Tianshan Mountains, covering an area of over 69,000 square kilometres. The city of Turfan is the seat of the administrative office of the prefecture. The prefecture has one city and two counties under its jurisdiction, with a population of 540 thousand. The lowest place in the depression is 154 metres below sea level. Turpan Prefecture has a continental desert climate and has long been known as the "Prefecture of Fire" and "Wind Storehouse".


The history of Turpan:

Turpan is a transportation hub linking the Central Plains with Central Asia, as well as southern Xinjiang with northern Xinjiang since ancient times. According to historical records, the native inhabitants in Turpan are Gushi people. In 60 B.C., the kingdom of Cheshi submitted to the authority of the Han Dynasty. The Governor-General Government for Controlling the Western Regions was established in the same year and Zhen Ji was appointed as the first Governor-General. In 48 B.C., the Han Dynasty set up the Wuji Xiaowei Military Office in Jiaohe City in Anterior Cheshi to control the reclaiming affairs in the Western Countries. In 499 A .D., Turpan came into the period of Qu's Gaochang Kingdom. In the 14th year of Zhenguan period ( 640A .D.) of the Tang Dynasty, the Gaochang Kingdom was conquered and the West Prefecture was set up here. In 866 A .D., the Gaochang Uighurian Kingdom was set up here, which took the Gaochang as its centre and kept unconquered until submitting to Genghis Khan, then Uighur was renamed “Wei-Wu-Er”. In the 10th year of Guangxu period of the Qing Dynasty ( 1884A .D,), Turpan Department was established, which was renamed Turpan County in 1913. In 1984, the county was changed as the city. Turpan is a town of military importance on the Silk Roads, rich in historical relics of Chinese and Western types both on the ground and underground. Today, Turpan has been built into a beautiful oasis garden city, not only features in history and civilization of the ancient Silk Roads but also presents modern elegant demeanours. Now Turpan is an important base of grape, cotton, Hami melon and oil of the autonomous region and even in our country.


The development of Silk Road in Turpan

Since the Han and Tang dynasties, Turpan has served as the juncture between the Central Plains and Central Asia and Europe. Economic and trade activities have been very active. Some religions of the world entered the inland via Gaochang. When Xuanzang traveled along the Silk Road to ancient India to study Buddhism, he stopped over in Gaochang where he preached Buddhism and sworn brothers with Gaochang King, leaving a touching story for later generations. Until today, Turpan is still the place where the eastern and western cultures and religions met and integrated. Turpan hosts the most ruins of the Silk Road with more than two hundred heritage sites such as the ancient city, the grotto temple, the beacon towers, the tombs, the mural paintings,etc. Of the cultural relics on the Silk Road from the Western Han to the Tang Dynasty kept at the Xinjiang History Museum, more than 80% came from Turpan.


Uighur Culture in Turpan

Turpan region is also one of the centers of the Uighur culture. Uighur entered the Western Regions in the 9th century and settled down in the Turpan region first. in addition, their life style exude unique charm such as their music, dance, costumes, religion, rituals, food, customs, and even architectural styles. The most typical Turpan song and dance are not only very popular in the Xinjiang region, but also have become a symbol of the Uighur style. 


Other information about Turpan:

City life centres around the bazaar with its numerous food stalls and goods for sale and the public square, which deserted in the daytime, becomes a riot of colours, scents and sounds by night. Though the heat of the day can make even the hardiest of travellers nearly comatose, many of Turpan's streets are covered with grape trellises providing welcome shade. Turpan has long been famous for its grapes and was once renowned throughout all of Asia for its wine. Now, most local families have a hand in the grape industry, either in the growing or selling them as they are or as raisins.


Turpan is a small city in Xinjiang, but it is famous all over the country for its hot summer weather, abundant fruits and vegetables, rich places of simple folk customs. The famous tourist attractions include Su Gong Pagoda, Grape Valley, Flaming Mountain, Tuyugou, Gaochang Ancient City, and Jiaohe Ancient City. As there are only a few attractions in the city, the best way to visit Turpan is by chartered car. In addition to these conventional tourist attractions, there are many Tianshan series of ancient trails, suitable for hiking adventures.