Top Choice Cave in Turpan

Bezeklik Cave Complex

This cave complex, which dates from the 6th to 14th century, has a fine location in a mesmerising desert landscape. Bezeklik means ‘Place of Paintings’ in Uighur and the murals painted in the 11th century represente…
Top Choice Ruins in Turpan

Jiāohé Ruins

Also called Yarkhoto, Jiāohé was established by the Chinese as a garrison town during the Han dynasty. It’s one of the world’s largest (6500 residents once lived here), oldest (1600 years old) and best-preserved anc…
Islamic Site in Turpan

Emin Minaret

Built to honour Turpan general Emin Hoja, this splendid 44m-high mud-brick structure is the tallest minaret in China. Also known as Sūgōng Tǎ after Emin’s son Suleiman, who oversaw its construction (1777–78), its bo…
Museum in Turpan

Turpan Museum

Xīnjiāng’s second-largest museum houses a rich collection of relics recovered from archaeological sites across the Turpan Basin, including a superb collection of dinosaur fossils, dinosaur eggs and various species o…
Graves in Turpan

Astana Graves

The small Uighur village of Astana contains this ancient imperial cemetery, chiefly of interest as you can see the mummies you normally see in museums in the exact positions in which they were discovered. However, a…
Museum in Turpan

Karez System

This museum is dedicated to the uniquely Central Asian–style irrigation system that includes hundreds of kilometres of above and underground canals, wells and reservoirs, much of it still working.
Village in Turpan


Set in a green valley fringed by the Flaming Mountains, this mud-brick village offers a fascinating glimpse of traditional Uighur life and architecture. It has been a pilgrimage site for Muslims for centuries, as on…
Ruins in Turpan


Dating from the 1st century, Gāochāng rose to power during the Tang dynasty in the 7th century. Also known as Khocho, or sometimes Karakhoja, Gāochāng became the Uighur capital in AD 850 and was a major staging post…
Mountain in Turpan

Flaming Mountains

Near the Bezeklik Caves in Turpan are the Flaming Mountains, which appear midday like multicoloured tongues of fire. The Flaming Mountains were immortalised in the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, in which…