Tantalizing Turpan

Written by Oct 5, 2004 12:10
Add Friends:
Email 1 Email 2 Email 3

No more than 10 friends at a time, please.


Arriving in Turpan

After about 13hrs in the train, we finally arrived in Turpan, a place in the eastern part of Xinjiang Province. It's a very important juncture along the Silk Road thru which the western and Chinese cultures encountered, clashed, and exchanged. It's actually a depression (a sunken place with an area of low air pressure) characterized by high temperature and rare precipitation thus the name Land of Fire. The highest ever recorded temperature was 47.5C! But don't be fooled; this place is so amazing with its rich cultural and historical ruins!

It was about 8am when we got off the train and formed into groups; I always end up with another group for each place that we visit; it's kind of cool actually, moving from one grade level to another, the kids always have something to say to me and it's always a new learning experience! Playing poker with the seniors or computer games with the grade 6 or simply munching on sunflower seeds with the middle school students; either way, i's a lot of fun. Just make sure that you always have a smiling face with a sense of wonder every time they tell you something!

Anyways, at the train station, we were greeted by another group of dancers. Judging by their costumes, I would say they are Muslims looking more Arabic than Chinese! They're quite pretty, too! I had my picture taken with one of them who was more than willing to abide. Outside the station, you can see a pool of merchants selling fancy knives, colorful Muslim hats, and quite a variety of fruits! It's the honey-dew melon, of course, that made my eyes pop out! I just love eating hami gua (that's what they're called in Chinese). They taste so sweet! I would say this fruit should be the food of the gods! There were loads and loads of them; how I wish I could've taken a picture with my favorite fruit in all its splendor!

The Grape Valley

The first place we went to was the Grape Valley! It's simply a paradise on earth. Upon entering, your eyes would just open up to the canopy of grapes hanging everywhere! Grapes here, grapes there, grapes everywhere! We were toured around the area from the wine making factory, where we actually had a taste of what I would say is the best kind of wine around, to the homes some of the locals. In one home you can have a picture taken with one of the costumed females (supposedly a servant) provided you pay a certain amount of money, of course (business as usual). I told her to get a bunch of grapes and put one grape at a time in my mouth while a certain someone takes a photo of me; just when I was having a good time, a group of students entered and saw me in my king-like pose! I was red all over as laughter filled the air!

Turpan's Irrigation

Next stop was the Karez Irrigation Museum. Like I said, Turpan is located in a depression, so the people here must have a water source. Amazingly enough, they do! The place is nourished by a unique irrigation system where water from the surrounding mountains flow straight to the heart of Turpan. It doesn't look much like anything really; just a very long dug up path where you can see crystal clear water flowing! In the museum you would see a big map where the different karez sources are located and where they flow thru. The museum is actually one of the places where the karez flows thru and we were able to go along some parts of it. The karez, is, if I'm not mistaken, an underground water source, the place we went thru was underground with only a little sunlight passing thru. The people here consider this irrigation system as the one of the three great inventions of China!

The Emin Mosque

Third stop after lunch, was the Emin Tower considered the most important and impressive Islamic architecture in Xinjiang. It has a long history, so let me just give you the briefs. It's russet in color with a circular tower 44m. high looking like a giant vase from afar. Inside it is a spiral staircase leading to the top. I didn't bother climbing up because of the intense temperature. There is a 2500 sq. m. adjoining mosque with a high arched door and a domed sacred area where Muslims pray. It's actually quite cool inside and well-lighted. Its construction started in 1777 and was completed the following year. A famous general had it constructed for the purpose of paying a debt of gratitude to the Emperor, expressing his devotion to Allah, and also to leave behind a good name. I wonder what I should construct to leave behind a good name. hmmm.

Lastly, before departing for Urumqi, we had a short stop at the famous flaming mountains! Its many ridges look like flames going up to the sky. If you know what a bacon looks like after being fried; these mountains definitely fit the description! I don't know how else I could better describe them.

 More Turpan Travel Reviews
1. I have just finished a walk through the Jiaohe ruins outside of Turfan in Xinjiang province... WOODS Apr 13, 2004 16:04
Comments (0)

Write Your Comment

You can post as a member (Login first) or a guest!

*Name: Country:

No more than 2,000 characters, please.

Send me an Email if anyone replies.

Your Reply to

You can post as a member (Login first) or a guest!

*Name: Country:

No more than 2,000 characters, please.