Flaming Mountain

Flaming Mountain
Flaming Mountain
Flaming Mountain
Flaming Mountain
Flaming Mountain
Flaming Mountain

The Flaming Mountain is lying in the middle of the Turpan Depression and running from east to west is 98kms long, and 9km wide, and it is one of the branch ranges of the Tianshan Mountain. The average height of the flaming mountain is between 400 to 500 meters, and highest peak of the flaming mountain is 831.7 meters above sea level.

The mountain is barren and extremely hot in summer. During the trek approaching the mountain, visitors will find the soles of their shoes soften in the intense heat. The ground temperature may reach 80 degrees centigrade. Geologists say that the Flaming Mountains were formed Himalayas fifty million years ago, by magma bursting forth from under the sea during movement of the earth’s crust, while the ravines and gullies crisscrossing the slopes are the result of erosion since those times. Under the blazing sun, the russet sandstone sparkles, and hot vapor rises and coils like flames from a great fire, which is how the mountains got their name? The Flaming Mountains are so hot and so dry, the mountains at the same time act like a giant natural dam of the underground reservoir in the basin.

The Flaming Mountains have many cultural relics and often told ancient tales.
The mountain is combination of red sand and rocks that makes the mountain looks like a red dragon sleeping on the area basin.

In the best-known Chinese novel “Journey to the West”, the Flaming Mountain fill with different evil characters that fight with the high monk Tang and his three disciples. Tang Xuan Zang and his followers who travelled west in search of the Buddhist sutra. They could not penetrate the flames and Monkey (one of his flowers) procured a magical palm leaf fan from princess Iron Fan, wife of the Ox demon king and waved it 49 times, causing heavy rains to extinguish the fire. There are many old legendary stories make this mountain unique, attractive and with lots of room for wild imagination.

Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves

Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves
Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves
Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves
Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves
Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves
Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves

The Bizaklik Thousand-Buddha Caves is located ‘ Mutou Valley’ in the Flaming Mountains, which is 48 kilometers northeast of the Turpan city, twenty-two kilometers from the ancient city of Gaochang. They were called the Ningrong Grottoes in the Tang Dynasty.

There are 77 numbered grottoes, about 40 of which still have murals in them. The group of grottoes in Bizaklik, with a total of 1,200 square meters of murals, has the most grottoes, most diversified architectural styles, the richest mural content. The greatest number of grottoes and mural paintings are concentrated in Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves.

The earliest of these grottoes were built during the reign of the Qu family in Gaochang in the sixth century, and from that time on Bizaklik Thousand Buddha caves was an important Buddhist center throughout the Tang Dynasty, the Song and Yuan dynasties right up to the thirteenth century. Its most prosperous period was under the reign of the Xizhou Huigu government, Huihus s established it’s kingdom in Gaochang in the middle of the ninth century,which was built the royal temple of the King of Huigu on this site. Most of the existing grottoes were extended or reconstructed during the Huigu period. Bizaklik Grottoes considered to be a treasure-house of Huihu culture and arts.

The Bizaklik Grottoes come in a variety of shapes. Most of them are rectangular caves with vertical vaulted ceilings, while others are square with horizontal vaulted ceilings. There are also square caves with dome ceilings built at the end of the Tang Dynasty and the Five Dynasties.

The ceiling of Grotto I8 is a painting dating from the Northern Dynasties. With a large lotus blossom at the center, the painting is filled with designs of triangles, four-leaf patterns and other geometrical figures, painted in the mineral colors of blue and green as well as white with simple and powerful strokes.

The murals depicting “Buddhist disciples wailing in mourning” and “Bhikku wailing in mourning” on the back wall of the Grotto No.33 are rare artistic pieces which depict the inner feelings of the figures with vivid images and individual characteristics. The ancient instruments shown in the mural depicting “Female Dancers on Performance” in Grotto No.16 and the mural of “Transformation in the Hell” in Grotto No.17 are seldom seen in Buddhist grottoes in China.

Nowadays, we can still see on the remaining Buddhist murals the features of the King and Queen of Huigu and people of different status, as well as scenes of the lives of ancient Uygur people. Inscriptions in the ancient Huigu, Chinese and Brahmi languages are valuable materials for research on the written languages and history of Xinjiang’s various nationalities, and Uygur in particular.

Grape Valley

Grape Valley Grape valley of Turpan is lacated western slope of the Flaming Mountain, northeast of Turpan city; it is about 15kms far from Turpan city. The Grape Valleys both side are covered with luxuriant vines, mulberry, peach, apricot, apple, pomegranate, pear, fig, walnut, elm, poplar, and willow trees.

While it is sweltering hot at the foot of the Flaming Mountains, it is cool all day around in grape valley. It is a world of unique beauty, presenting a striking contrast with the hot, dry and barren outside. Cushioned by green grass and graced with green trees, the grape valley is a world of green with brooks, canals and sparkling springs. In the depths of the grape valley lies a guesthouse, where tourists can relax and enjoy the scenery from elegant pavilions and corridors under the shady grape trellises, where clusters of ripening grapes hang. Nearby the hosts lay tables spread with every variety of grape, muskmelons and their own wine for the enjoyment of their guests. Grape Valley is 8kms long, 0.5km wide. Grape Valley has a population of more than 5,000 people; they are consisted of Uygur, Hui and Han nationalities. People who have been growing grapes and melons in Grape Valley doing generation after generation. Grape Valley has more than 400 hectares of cultivated land, 220 hectares of which is grape-growing area. People started to grow grapes in flaming mountain more then 1,000 years ago. People grow seedless white, rose-pink, mare-teat, black, Kashihar, Bijiagan and Suosuo grapes. Grape Valley produces 6,000 metric tons of grapes and more than 300 metric tons of raisins per year, there is a fruit winery producing several kinds of wines which sell well across the China.

Ancient City of Gaocheng

Ancient City of Gaocheng
Ancient City of Gaocheng
Ancient City of Gaocheng
Ancient City of Gaocheng
Ancient City of Gaocheng
Ancient City of Gaocheng
Ancient City of Gaocheng
Ancient City of Gaocheng

Ancient City of Gaocheng is located near the “Flaming Mountains”, it is 46 kms southeast of the city of Turpan. Gaochang ancient city was built in the first century B.C; it was a key point on the ancient Silk Road, but after many changes in fortune over a period of 1,300 years, and under the jurisdictions of the Gaochang Prefecture, the Gaochang Kingdom and Huozhou Prefecture, the city was burnt down in wars in the fourteenth century.

Looking down from high position nearby, it can be seen that the ancient city is in the shape of a rough square surrounded by a deep moat, the outline of the ancient city is still clearly visible. It is made up outer wall, inner wall and palace wall, the base of the walls are twelve-meter thick, outer wall is 11.5 meters high and 5.4kms in circumference. It is built of rammed earth with layers; each layer of the wall ranges is eight to twelve centimeters in thickness.

The inner city is located in the center of the outer city. It has a 3-kilometer long wall, most of the west and the east sections are well preserved. The rectangular palace city is in the northern part of the city of Gaochang ancient city and it shares the north wall with the outer city and uses the north wall of the inner city as its south wall. There are still several 3 to 4 meters high earthen platforms in the palace city where the court of Huigu Gaochang Kingdom was seated. In the north central part of the inner city, there is a high terrace on which stands a square pagoda built of adobe called “Khan’s castle” which means “Imperial Palace”. Somewhat to its west there is a half-underground, two-story structure which was probably the ruins of a palace. In the southwestern part of the outer city there is a temple which is 130 meters long from east to west, 85 meters wide from south to north and covers an area of 10,000 square meters. The temple consists of an arched gate, courtyard, a lecture hall, a library of sutras, a main hall and the monks’ dormitory. Murals remaining in the main hall are still visible.

The renowned Buddhist monk Xuanzang of the Tang Dynasty is said to have lectured in the temple for more than one month in the year 628 on his way to India to obtain Buddhist scriptures. In the vicinity of the temple there are also ruins of workshops and market sites. In the southeastern part of the outer city there is a smaller temple, the ruins of the murals within which are better than those in the main hall. There were probably three gates in the southern wall of the ancient city, each side two gates. The best preserved gates stand on the north and west side. Outside the gates are walled enclosures for defense. Inner city wall of the southern and western parts are still intact. The palace walls stand in the northern part of the city, pressed between the inner and outer walls.

Ancient City of Jiaohe

Ancient City of Gaocheng
Ancient City of Gaocheng
Tianshan Mysterious Grand Canyon, Kuqa, Xinjiang
Ancient City of Gaocheng
Ancient City of Gaocheng
Tianshan Mysterious Grand Canyon, Kuqa, Xinjiang
Ancient City of Gaocheng
Ancient City of Gaocheng

The Ancient City of Jiaohe is situated at Yar Town , 13 km west of Turpan City . In the Western Han Dynasty, this City served as the capital of ” Anterior State of Cheshi”, one of the 36 kingdoms in the West Region. During the Tang Dynasty, the government of the Tang Dynasty established Jiaohe County here that was under the jurisdiction of West Prefecture of the Tang Dynasty.

“Anxi Frontier Command”, the highest military and administrative organ established by the Tang Dynasty in the West Region, once was set here, and later it was moved to Qiuci (modern Kuche County ). In the sixth century the Qu ruling house established the Prefecture of Jiaohe here. And the castle was like a bulwark with strong defense. People outside the wall of the castle could not learn information inside the castle, but people inside the castle had a command position over people outside the castle. Many cultural relics were unearthed at the Ancient City of Jiaohe, such as antefix of the Tang Dynasty and Buddhist scriptures.