Turpan, an important city along the silk road, is still the political, economical and curtural centre of Turpan region. it locates in the middle of Uygur Automomous Region and is 184 kms away from Urumqi. The city is a pearl in the western reigon which attracts many tourists from home and abroad each year. There are beautiful sightseeings and famous historical sites near the Turpan city, such as the Mountain of Flames, Thousand-Buddha Cave, Sugong Tower and Grape valley.etc. Inside city you can visit the Turpan museum where the world’s largest and most integrated fossil of Indricotherium was also exhibited here.
The Grape Valley is situated in a canyon, west side of Fire Mountain and 15 km northeast of the seat of Turpan County. It is 8 km long and 500 m wide. On either side of the valley are thick trees and mulberry trees, apricot trees, peach trees, pear trees, poplar trees, willow trees, elm trees and locust trees are arranged in order. Waters from springs flow into channels irrigating 210-odd hectare grape garden. Here a modern grape wine plant has been established producing various kinds of grape wine and grape cans. White grape wine produced here boasts a nice taste and is popular with both Chinese and foreign guests. Deep inside the valley a grape park was built, where there are waterside villas. After experiencing the fierce heat of Flaming Mountains, taking a rest here and tasting some grapes will give a nice kind of feeling.
The Su Gong Tower (Sugong Tower, Su Gong Ta) located in the central area of Xinjiang Province, is about 2 kilometers from the Turphan City. It is a famous Islamic tower and has another name “Turphan Tower”. The Su Gong Tower is a typical tower of Islamic characteristics. It has a cylinder body made of yellow bricks standing 37 meters high. The outside decorated with the traditional minority tribe’s flower patterns such as rhombic, water ripples, hill, four-petal-pattern, etc.There are 14 windows in total from the top to the bottom. Each window is different in height and direction. There has 72 steps spiraling from the foot to the top. The top of the tower takes a shape like a fighter’s armor. It is so strange to find no sills or girders inside the tower. The suspended path of bricks spirals upward and sustains the whole weight of the body. Visitors tracing the oblique steps will get a beautiful Birdseye view of the whole landscape from the top.If you are planning to take a trip in Western China area, start from Turphan City and then Flaming Mountain, Sugong Tower and then on to many other tourists attractions in the area will be a good start.The Islam religion spread into China in Tang Dynasty (“651A.D”). In Arabic “Islam” means “submission”. That is, to submit to Allah’s decree. In the old day, Chinese called Islam “Hui”, ” Moslem” or “Tianfang”. Moslems settle in large numbers in Xinjiang Province, Gansu Province, and Inner Mongolia.The Su Gong Tower was built in the year of Emperor Qianlong, Ch’ing Dynasty (1778 AD), recorded in 1181 of Islamic calendar. The king of Turphan Sulaiman II sponsored this project to honor the great exploit of his father Eminhe. That is why this tower also called “Emin Tower”. Now it has become famous for not only being the noted architecture of Islamic art and the biggest antique tower in Xinjiang, but also being the only one Islamic architectural tower in China.
Karez Well is a kind of underground water works invented and built by laboring people of various ethnic groups in our country to adapt to the natural environment in dry region. In Xinjiang, Karez Wells are mainly in Hami, Turpan and Mori, but they are most in Turpan Basin, where there are altogether 1100-odd Karez wells and have the total length of over 5000 km. Some people hold the view that Karez Wells of Xinjiang, the Great Wall and Canal constitute three Ancient Chinese Works. Why Karez Wells were built in great number in Turpan Basin can be attributed to the local natural geographical conditions. To the north of Turpan Basin is Bogda Mountain and to its west Kalawucheng Mountain. In summer, large amounts of snowbroth and rainwater flow into Turpan Basin and infiltrate into the ground, and constitute underground current, thus making an adequate water source under ground for Karez Wells. Earth in Turpan Basin is solid and good for building well and underground channel. In Turpan it is very dry and hot in summer, and land here has a high evaporation rate. In wind season, the strong wind here can blow sands into every corner here. After wind, a lot of farmland and water channels are buried by sands. But Karez Wells can supply waters through underground channels and is independent of the effect of season and wind and sand. In addition, Karez Wells have a very low evaporation rate and a stable supply of water, and can irrigate farmland all the year round. The word “Karez” means well. Karez Well is composed of four parts: vertical hole, underground channel, aboveground channel and water storage dam. It is built this way: first, to find water source in a place where there is underground water current, second, dig out vertical wells with certain distance in between, then, to build underground channel connecting these wells and thus water will flow through the underground channel. The outlet of underground channel is connected to the aboveground channel and thus underground water can flow out and irrigate farmland through the aboveground channel.
The Astana-Karakhoja Ancient Tombs
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.
Thousand Buddha Caves of Tuyuq Valley
The Bezeklik Thousand-Buddha Caves contain 67 caves, noted for their exquisite murals dating from the Northern and Southern dynasties (AD 317 – 589) to the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1279 – 1368). After a short tour of the Sugong Minaret, built in the mid-eighteenth century by the chief of Turpan Prefecture as a memorial to his father, it’s on to the Tuyuq Valley caves.