The Astana-Karakhoja Ancient Tombs are part of the Underground Museum of
Turpan and the Living Archives of Gaochang. Astana means capital in Uigur;
Karakhoja was a Uigur hero who protected his people from a vicious dragon.
The tombs are located 42 km (26miles) southeast of Turpan city and 6 km
(3.7miles) from the Ancient City of Gaochang. The tombs were the public cemetery
of the ancient Gaochang residents, both aristocrats and commoners. Among the
excavated 456 tombs, the Gaochang king's has not been found.
The tomb complex is 5 km (3.1miles) from east to west, and 2 km (1.2miles)
from north to south. Gravel boundaries separate the tombs by family. The
paternal family burial order was strictly followed, similar to the system in the
Hexi Corridor (today's Gansu Province), and even in central China. Generally,
husband and wife were buried together. In some cases, one man was accompanied by
two or three women.