Emin Minaret

Turpan

Built to honour Turpan general Emin Hoja, this splendid 44m-high mud-brick structure is the tallest minaret in China. Named Sūgōng Tǎ after Emin’s son Suleiman, who oversaw its construction (1777–78), its bowling-pin shape is decorated with an interesting mix of geometrical and floral patterns: the former reflect traditional Islamic design, the latter Chinese. You can't climb the interior steps of the minaret itself, but the rest of the grounds, including the adjacent mosque, are open.

The minaret is 3km southeast of the centre of Turpan. Biking or strolling is a fun way to get here when the weather isn't too hot. The dusty, tree-lined Uyghur streets in this traditional neighbourhood give a fascinating glimpse into old Turpan.