General Information of Turpan

Interesting in Turpan

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Location: located to the southeast of Urumqi, the capital cityof Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.


Population: 572,000


Features of Turpan City


Turpan is an old city with a long history. Traces have been found of humans living there, dating as far back as 6,000 years ago. Turpan means 'the lowest place' in the Uygur language and 'the fertile land' in Turki. Lying in the Turpan Basin, the elevation of most of the places in the area is below 500 meters (1,640 feet).


Culture of Turpan City


Turpan is a marvelous city blending Western and Eastern religions and culture together perfectly. The geographical position of Turpan is rather important. Turpan is the city with the lowest elevation in China. The city, which is also known as Huo Zhou (a place as hot as fire), is the hottest place in China. Turpan is praised as the 'Hometown of Grapes' and the Grape Valley is a good place to enjoy the grapes of hundreds of varieties.


Attractions of Turpan


Grape Valley: Located in the Flaming Mountain 13 km (8 miles) of Turpan, the Grape Valley runs 8km (5miles) from north to south at a width of 0.5km (03.miles). Among dozens of kinds of grapes, Wuhebai (white seedless) grape is reputed as a green pearl with the sugar content as much as 22%. Taking a walk along the grape corridor, you will find drying rooms on nearby slopes. Every year over 300 tons of raisins are made here. Mellowness penetrates your heart as the sweetness of grapes melts in your mouth.


Ancient City of Gaochang: In the boundless desolate Gobi desert stand the ruins of the ancient city of Gaochang, shining like a resplendent precious stone inlaid in the barren desert and shining on the Silk Road. Gaochang is located at the foot of the Flaming Mountain, about 46 kilometers (about 29 miles) southeast of Turpan. Withstanding the test of time and weather, the ancient city of Gaochang, and the ancient city of Jiaohe, are the best-preserved ruins of the ancient cities in China.


Ancient City of Jiaohe (Yarkhoto): One of the world's architectural wonders hides in Yarnaz Valley, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) west of Turpan. Jiaohe distinguishes itself from other ancient cities owing to three features. First, it had only two city gates, the South and East Gates. Second, the city faces cliffs on three sides, so there are no city walls commonly seen in other ancient cities. Third, all the buildings were dug from earth, and wood was rarely used.

Karez System: Karez systems are the crystallization of ancient people's diligence and intelligence. At its peak, the karez irrigation system exceeded 5,000 km (3,106 miles) and was also referred to as 'the underground Great Wall'. It is among the three ancient major irrigation projects with the other two being Ling Canal and Dujiangyan Irrigation Project. Karez systems are the life source of Turpan. In a sense, without the karez, there would be no Turpan culture.


Flaming Mountains (Huo Yan Shan): Charcoals fell from the sky to where the Flaming Mountain now lies-- in the middle of Turpan Basin.

Astana-Karakhoja Ancient Tombs: They are part of the Underground Museum of Turpan and the Living Archives of Gaochang. Astana means capital in Uigur; Karakhoja was a Uigur hero who protected his people from a vicious dragon.The tombs are located 42 km (26miles) southeast of Turpan city and 6 km (3.7miles) from the Ancient City of Gaochang.


Aydingkol Lake (Moonlight Lake): Aydingkol Lake, 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) from Turpan City, is at the bottom of the deepest depression in China's land mass, known as Turpan Pendi. Aydingkol Lake, together with the Flaming Mountains and Grape Valley are three outstanding natural features in Turpan.Shaped like the moon, the lake was so named by the Uigur.

Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves: It stand high on the cliffs of west Mutou Valley under the Flaming Mountain, 45 km (28miles) east of Turpan. Of the 83 original caves, 57 caves currently remain which be considered the most valuable.


Desert Botanical Garden: Situated on the ventral portion of Turpan Basin, the Desert Botanical Garden lies about 10 kilometers (6 miles) southeast of Turpan City. It is the largest botanical garden in China, built on a bottomland.

Emin Minaret (Su Gong Ta): Emin Minaret is the largest extant old tower in Xinjiang; it is the only Islamic tower among the hundred famous towers in China. It Stands 2 km (1.24 miles) east of Turpan.


Sand Therapy Health Center: Sand therapy, also called sand burying therapy, is a comprehensive treatment combining the effect of heat, massage and magnetic treatments. It cures some chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, hemiplegy, high blood pressure and neurasthenia. Turpan has many sand therapy centers such as Sand Therapy Health Center, Shanshan Desert Park and Rukqin Sand Therapy Center.

Turpan Museum: Standing on the Gaochang Road of Turpan City in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Turpan Museum is the second largest museum with the richest and largest collection in Xinjiang. To some degree, Turpan Museum is a compressed encyclopedia, from which we can get to know the society, politics, economy, military affairs, and cultural life of Turpan during the past dynasties.


Nightlife in Turpan


Everyday after sunset the temperature drops rapidly in Turpan but the nightlife heats up as people gather together in bars, discos, cinemas and clubs to relax. Although the nightlife is not as well developed as it is in other modern cities in China, it is well patronized by locals who are looking for entertainment after a hard day's work.


The Uygur people are known for their singing and dancing. Visitors can see a Uygur Singing and Dancing Show in nearly all of the star-level hotels. Even some small hostels have these kinds of shows. The Grape Valley is also an ideal venue to enjoy a show. During the Grape Festival the show can be seen in every corner of the city.


Turpan Food


As a city inhabited by minority nationalities, Turpan is famous for delicious Uygur snacks, which are quite like those in Urumqi. Famous snacks such as Kebabs, Nang, Zhua Fan are visible at every corner of the old city. A bite of any of these snacks will give you a flavor that will linger in your memory for quite a long time. Apart from that, there are many other local dishes-

Sanzi: Sanzi is one of the Hui snacks eaten at festivals. It is considered as a table delicacy for giving guests a special treat. To make Sanzi, you should mix the flour with oil, Chinese prickly ash and egg white to make dough. And then, pull the dough into thin noodles and deep-fry the noodles in oil for several minutes.


Additionally, Xinjiang is distinguished by its fruits, especially the Turpan grape. It enjoys great prestige both at home and abroad. Benefiting from the advantageous geographical position, the grape here has rich sugar content. There are hundreds of grape varieties in Turpan, and in harvest season, you can see people eating grapes everywhere in the city as their staple food.

On Bizaklik Road, there is a local snack street-Guanghui Street. Visitors can find cheap, but delicious, local snacks in a very wide range of selections. And the restaurants in Turpan offer you the best dishes which have a strong Uygur flavor. Furthermore, Dongmen Market in Ya'er Town would also be a good option for snack hunters. The snacks there, with a Uygur flavor, would also satisfy their tastes.


Shopping in Turpan


If you are traveling in the Turpan area of Xianjiang you will find that the grapes grown in this area are incredibly delicious, and the raisins from these grapes would make a first-class gift to bring home to your friends. You will also find that the wine made from the local grapes is superior in quality, and surprisingly inexpensive.


Knives--The knives made in Xinjiang are well-known throughout the country. They are not only practical, but also quite beautiful. Knives made in Yengisar are hand-crafted and represent the unique culture of Middle Asia. They are popular with visitors with their unique shapes and exquisite materials.

Colorful Cap--Caps made in Turpan have big flower designs, and the bottom is a bit narrow. With their flower designs and bright colors, these caps seem be quite popular with senior citizens.


Pa La Zi (Knitting Carpet)--It is another example of the traditional craft works of Uygur. Pa La Zi is crafted by using colorful wool to knit a variety of geometric figures.


Turpan Travel Guide

Turpan Travel Tips: Transportation in Turpan


Get to Ancient City of Gaochang

1. Take the tourist bus from Turpan to Doushan, it stops at Shengjinkou, then transfer to motorcycles from Shengjinkou to Gaochang.


2. Take a bus from Turpan to Sanbao Township Government, and then transfer to motorcycles to Gaochang.


3. Take a taxi.


Sand Therapy Health Center--Bus Route: No. 3


Turpan Museum--Bus Routes: 5, 6, 202 and get off at Gaochang Park (Turpan Museum) Station.

By Air: At present Turpan does not have its own airport, but visitors can use the Urumqi International Airport (URC). It is about 230 kilometers (142.9 miles) from the airport to Turpan city center and it takes only 2 hours' driving by expressway.


By Train: Turpan Railway Station is located in Daheyan County, about 50 kilometers from the city center. Although it is a bit far from the city center, the traffic condition is good as the city buses and taxis are all available for you. It takes about CNY80 by taxi and CNY5 by bus.

Additionally, there is a smaller railway station - Qiquanhu Railway Station near Turpan city. The trains with good facilities from and to Chengdu, Xian, Urumqi and Korla will stop at the station every day.


By Long-distance Bus: There are two bus stations in Turpan City: Turpan Bus Station and Daheyan Bus Station. They offer the convenient traffic within Xinjiang. Everyday, there are over 140 buses taking 7,000 passengers to the big cities such as Urumqi, Shanshan, Kashgar, Hotan, Tuokexun and Aqsu.

By City-bus: Like other middle cities in Xinjiang, Turpan is not a city with high population density. So it is not very crowded when taking a city-bus and it is easy for you to find a seat. There are eight city bus routes in Turpan which can take you to different directions of the city. The bus fare for the first 6 stops is CNY0.5 per person, and CNY0.5 should be added for greater distances.


By Taxi: taking a taxi in Turpan is the best way for you to escape from the high temperature. Generally speaking, the price of taxi in Turpan is CNY5 for the first 3 kilometers (1.86 miles).

By Donkey Taxi: If you want to make a short trip in or around the city, you should try a special vehicle to taste the real life of the Uygur. That is the so-called 'donkey taxi'. After bargaining for a suitable fee, you can sit on the vehicle leisurely to wander around the mysterious old city.


China Travel in Turpan: Best Time to Visit Turpan


The best time to visit Turpan is from June to August when various melons and fruits are ripe, so you may taste the delicious fruits. The Grape Festival held in August every year is also quite exciting and very enjoyable. During the Grape Festival, a variety of cultural activities such as evening parties, and the grape wine festival are enjoyable events to attend.

In summer, many tourists are attracted to this area. People lie or sit under colorful sunshades, or bury themselves in the sand and drink hot teas to dissipate perspiration. It seems that they are just enjoying themselves in the sand instead of curing their diseases. Some of them come here just to appreciate the spectacle of the Gobi. Under the glow of the sun, the sand dunes glitter with every hue, attracting even more tourists.

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