Niya ancient city is located in the Taklimakan desert, north of Niya County. It is about 150kms far from Niya County downtown. Niya ancient city has supplied precious materials to the study of the relationships between the empire located in the Central Plains and ancient kingdoms in the Western Regions, which covers the area of the present day Xinjiang and parts of Central Asia.
It is also great importance to the study of the cultural exchanges between the East and the West, as well as the Silk Road. Archaeologist Aurel Stein discovered the ruin early in 20th century and since then archaeologists have continued their exploration to the ruins. The Chinese archaeologists took the steps to the ruins of Niya in 1959. They achieved great a lot in the exploration of Niya.A Sino-Japanese expedition team of archaeologists and scientists have led expeditions on the site with the approvement by China State Bureau of Cultural Relics in 1993. They have brought the richest yields in the field work about Niya in nearly a century.It is the remains of the lost ancient city of Niya are believed to the ancient Jingjue Kingdom during the Han and Jin dynasties. The ancient Jingjue Kingdom was at the south end of the Silk Road, sprawling over an area 25 km long from south to north and 5-7 km wide from east to west.
In the Site, the ruins of foundation of houses, courtyards, tombs, stupas, temples, fields, orchards, channels, kilns, and smelting workshops, etc., have been excavated, together with a large quantity of cultural relics, including wood ware, bronze, pottery, stone ware, woolen articles, coins, etc. In 1993, eight tombs were discovered at the northern part of the ruin. Some of them were already exposed when they were laid out in hollowed out logs or wooden trunks with an outer coffin. In 1962 the ancient site of Niya was designated as a major cultural site under the preservation of the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang. In 1996 the ancient city of Niya became a state protected cultural relic site. To visit the Niya ancient city, the tourist need s special permit to get in.