25 January 2015


Turpan has the Turpan Water Museum dedicated to demonstrating its karez water system, dedicated to the ingenious water irrigation system, as well as exhibiting other historical artifacts.  The museum has pictures and models instructing on the history of the karez system, and there are underground tunnels people can walk around in and see a karez.

Turpan's karez water system is made up of a horizontal series of vertically dug wells that are linked by underground water canals to collect water from the watershed surface runoff from the base of the Tian Shan Mountains and the nearby Flaming Mountains.  While driving along highway 312 toward Turpan, it will look like giant ant piles or gopher holes lined up in a neat row. A birds eye view would look something like this

Karez, an irrigation system of wells connected by under channels used in Xinjiang for its natural environment of the drought climate with being lack of water.  It was created by the local people in ancient times and has improved a lot on its digging skills

Grapes covering the long corrider leading to the museum

The underground great well -  Uyghur Karez

We exit the underground well to surface area which turned out to be a big shopping mall

24 January 2015


The Uyghurs established the Kingdom of Gaochong in 850.  The inhabitants of Gaochang practised Buddhism, Manicheism and Nestorian Christianity.  The Buddhist Uyghur kings, who called themselves idiquts, retained their nomadic lifestyle, residing in Gaochang during the winter but moved to the cooler Bishbalik near Urumchi in the summer.

The Uyghurs of the Kingdom of Gaochang were allowed significant autonomy by the Mongols but was finally destroyed by them in the 14th century.


Gaochang is the site of an ancient oasis city built on the northern rim of the inhospitable Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang, China.  A busy trading center, it was a stopping point for merchant traders traveling on the Silk Road.  It was destroyed in wars during the 14th century, and old palace ruins and inside and outside cities can still be seen today. The ruins are located 30 km southeast of modern Turpan.

A busy trading center, and near the city of Beshbalik, it was a stopping point for merchant traders traveling on the Silk Road. The ruins of Gaochang are located at the foot of the Flaming Mountain, about 40 kilometers southeast of Turpan.  The only plant that grow so well in the desert is water melon.