Jiaohe Ruins

Admission:

RMB 20

Hours:

How to get there:

Arrange a driver and car or attach yourself to a tour group in Turpan. If you're up for it, you can also bicycle from town.
The ancient ruined city of Jiaohe (Jiāohé Gùchéng, 交河故城) lies 10 km (6 mi) to the west of Turpan, situated on an island in the middle of river waters flowing through the Yarnaz Valley—the name itself means "at the confluence of two rivers." Abandoned in the thirteenth century after Genghis Khan's Mongol hordes laid it to waste, the ruins of this once-prosperous Silk Road city make for a fascinating day trip out of Turpan. The island rises some 30 m (98 ft) above the surrounding desert and, along with the river waters, provided a natural defensive barrier against attacks; hence the city, unlike so many of its time, was built without a protective wall. 
 
Founded some 2,000 years ago, the site retains clearly distinguishable temples, pagodas and other buildings, including a Buddhist monastery at the center of the city. Like many Silk Road cities, Jiaohe experienced degrees of independence and subjugation, having been at various times the capital of the Cheshi Kingdom, an outpost of Tang Dynasty China (starting in 450 AD), a prefecture of the Uyghur Empire of the 8th and 9th centuries, and a dominion of the Kyrgyz. Today, it's an amazing place to explore and contemplate the vast span of history that has seen many a city rise to heights of glory only to fall back into the desert sands.

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