The Ancient City of Gaochang is 47km (29 miles) southeast of Turpan. Originally built as a garrison in the 2nd century BC, it soon became the capital of the Kingdom of Gaochang. By the 9th century AD, Gaochang had become the center of the Uighur empire. Buddhism was also a major religion, and numerous monasteries and temples were built. The famous Buddhist monk Xuan Zang taught in the city for several months during his epic 18 year journey to India.
Though the ruins have not been as well preserved as the ones in the Ancient City of Jiaohe, it still provides interesting insight into this unique civilization. The city is split into 3 parts, the inner city, outer city and palace grounds all surrounded by a city wall and in total, covers an expansive area of over 2 million sq meters. Within you can see remnants of "Khan抯 Castle", a 15 meter (49ft) structure, temples, manuscripts and Buddhist paintings.