Aksu (Akèsù, 阿克苏) is the capital city of Aksu Prefecture in the southwest part of Xinjiang's Uyghur Autonomous Region. Situated in an extremely hot and dry area of China, Aksu shares a 235 km (146 mi) border with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and lies some 450 km (280 mi) east of Kashgar. This ancient oasis town is located right at the foot of the Tian Shan mountain range on the northern edge of the Tarim Basin, separated from the isolated town of Hotan only by the Taklamakan Desert (Tǎkèlāmǎgān Shāmò, 塔克拉玛干沙漠).
Aksu, which means "white water" in Turkic, has remained a predominantly Muslim and Turkic region, thanks to its large population of Uyghur people. Apart from the local culture, Aksu Prefecture also offers several sites of archaeological interest such as the Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves (Kèzī'ěr Qiānfódòng, 克孜尔千佛洞) and the Subashi Ruins (Sūbāshí Gǔchéng, 苏巴什古城) in Kuqa County (Kùchē Xiàn, 库车县).
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