Xian to Turpan

Walkway in Turpan

Walkway in Turpan

After Xian a 44 hour train journey to Turpan, 2425 kilometres north west, the last part across the Gobi Desert.

Turpan is a city of 100 thousand  mostly  the ethnic minority  of  Uygurs, with smaller number of Mongolian and Hui people.

Now I understand the meaning of ‘oasis’ . After the Gobi Desert and the Flaming Mountains Turpan has grape arbors over some main walkways, and grows grapes for dried fruit, the area is dotted by drying rooms.  There are mulberry trees everywhere.
Sweet to ride forth at evening from the wells
When shadows pass gigantic on the sand,
And softly through the silence beat the bells
Along the Golden Road to Samarkand.
                                                By James Elroy Flecker
In Turpan we visited;
   Jiaohe Ancient City  inhabited from 200BC – 1400AD  people left due to lack of water
   Karze  irrigation channels – still used
   Bezkilik Thousand-Buddha Caves – large frescos stolen and taken to Berlin where they were destroyed in 2nd World War and  Britain where I guess they are in the British Museum.
   Sugong Tower  Minaret

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