Nicknamed the ‘Fiery Land’ or ‘Oven’ in summer temperatures soar to 40 degrees – making Turpan China’s hottest city. One of the lowest places on earth, it is a remote oasis in a scorching desert Turpan has long been the centre of a fertile oasis and an important trade centre. It was historically located along the Silk Road.
Conversely, Turpan is also the centre of grape growing and wine making in the country – grapes and raisins here are the best in China!
15,000 tons of raisins are produced annually in Turpan, making it the country’s raisin capital with 95% of national production. There are 50 different varieties. In season (July – September) they can be found at Grape Valley, a valley shaded by grape vines that is packed with restaurants and market stalls. There is also wine tasting at the local wineries.
Taking advantage of climatic and geographical conditions, the locals have created sand burying therapy to cure chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, hemiplegia, high blood pressure and neurasthenia. The Turpan Sand Therapy Healthy Center contains more magnetite sand than other sand dunes and is an ideal place for some sand therapy!
Traditional Uighur Dance
Xinjiang Province has always been regarded as the paradise of singing and dancing and as one of the two cultural centers in Xinjiang, Turpan’s dancing and singing performances have its distinctive charming styles. The Nazikumu dance, a kind of folk dances, imitates the postures of various creatures in nature and is quite humorous to watch (or try!).
2200 years ago it was the capital of the ancient Cheshi Kingdom. Its demise began a thousand years ago, possibly due to inadequate water supplies. A few centuries later the invading armies of Genghis Khan finished off what remained of Jiaohe but you can still walk the long-ago abandoned streets of Jiaohe.
So named because in the evenings the red clay mountains reflect the heat and glow of the desert and seem to burn, legendary thanks to a classical novel, The Journey to the West by the Ming Dynasty writer, Wu Cheng’en and and the popular TV series adapted from the novel. According to the story, The Monkey King kicked over an elixir oven while fighting with gods in heaven. Charcoals from the oven fell onto the mountain and started a fire.
Karez Underground Irrigation System
This mostly-underground system includes over 1000 wells, numerous reservoirs and almost 2,000 miles of canals. By constructing the system underground, evaporation is almost nil, preserving precious mountain snowmelt for crops and turning this otherwise barren desert into a man-made oasis.
Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves (alternative to Kyzil Caves)
77 rock-cut caves with murals of Buddha, many of them defaced by Muslim worshippers, dating from the 5th to 14th century.