Top things to do in Turpan

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…
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 Uyghur and the murals painted in the 11th century represente…
Village in Turpan

Tuyoq

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

Flaming Mountains

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

Gaochang Lu Night Market

Come dusk, dozens of stalls set up shop by the fountains to the west of the main central square. Grab a cold beer and choose from fried fish, shāguō (沙果; casseroles), goat’s feet soup and cumin-scented kebabs. This …
Ruins in Turpan

Gāochāng

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 Uyghur capital in AD 850 and was a major staging post…
Uyghur in Turpan

Kurban Home

The large homestead of the Kurban family in the traditional Uyghur village of Tuyoq is a great place for a lunch of noodles (and you can watch the noodles being pulled beforehand, a fascinating sight) or even to sta…
Uyghur in Turpan

Hanzada Restaurant

Popular with locals for its diner-style booths and ornate Central Asian decor (think painted alabaster and chintzy chandeliers). The picture menu helps sort out the noodles from the polo and dàpánjī (大盘鸡; Huí-style …