A report on Xinjiang and Turpan

Dzungaria (Red) and the Tarim Basin or Altishahr (Blue)
Northern Xinjiang (Junggar Basin) (Yellow), Eastern Xinjiang- Turpan Depression (Turpan Prefecture and Hami Prefecture) (Red) and Altishahr/the Tarim Basin (Blue)
Tarim Basin in the 3rd century
Physical map showing the separation of Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin (Altishahr) by the Tien Shan Mountains
Buddhist Uyghur king from Turpan attended by servants. Depicted in Dunhuang Mogao Caves, Western Xia Dynasty.
Map of Han Dynasty in 2 CE. Light blue is the Tarim Basin protectorate.
"Mughal embassy", seen by the Dutch visitors in Beijing in 1656. According to Lach & Kley (1993), modern historians (namely, Luciano Petech) think that the emissaries portrayed had come from Turpan, rather than all the way from the Moghul India.
Old Uyghur/Yugur art from the Bezeklik murals
A model of the Turpan water system, (karez) in the Turpan Water Museum: Water is collected from mountains and channeled underground to grape vinyaards.
The Tarim Basin in the 3rd century AD
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A Sogdian man on a Bactrian camel. Sancai ceramic statuette, Tang dynasty
Youth Road (QingNianLu), a Turpan street shaded by grapevine trellises
Mongol states from the 14th to the 17th centuries: the Northern Yuan dynasty, Four Oirat, Moghulistan and Kara Del
Turpan North Railway Station
The Dzungar–Qing Wars, between the Qing Dynasty and the Dzungar Khanate
Turpan Railway Station
The Battle of Oroi-Jalatu in 1756, between the Manchu and Oirat armies
Wall painting from a Christian church, Qocho (Gaochang) 683–770 CE
The Qing Empire ca. 1820
Scene from the 1828 Qing campaign against rebels in Altishahr
Yakub Beg, ruler of Yettishar
19th-century Khotan Uyghurs in Yettishar
Kuomintang in Xinjiang, 1942
Governor Sheng Shicai ruled from 1933 to 1944.
The Soviet-backed Second East Turkestan Republic encompassed Xinjiang's Ili, Tarbagatay and Altay districts.
Close to Karakoram Highway in Xinjiang.
Pamir Mountains and Muztagh Ata.
Taklamakan Desert
Tianchi Lake
Black Irtysh river in Burqin County is a famous spot for sightseeing.
Kanas Lake
Largest cities and towns of Xinjiang
Statue of Mao Zedong in Kashgar
Nur Bekri, Chairman of the Xinjiang Government between 2007 and 2015
The distribution map of Xinjiang's GDP per person (2011)
Ürümqi is a major industrial center within Xinjiang.
Wind farm in Xinjiang
Sunday market in Khotan
Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport
Karakorum highway
This flag (Kök Bayraq) has become a symbol of the East Turkestan independence movement.
"Heroic Gesture of Bodhisattvathe Bodhisattva", example of 6th-7th-century terracotta Greco-Buddhist art (local populations were Buddhist) from Tumxuk, Xinjiang
Sogdian donors to the Buddha, 8th century fresco (with detail), Bezeklik, Eastern Tarim Basin
A mosque in Ürümqi
People engaging in snow sports by a statue of bodhisattva Guanyin in Wujiaqu
Christian Church in Hami
Catholic Church in Urumqi
Temple of the Great Buddha in Midong, Ürümqi
Taoist Temple of Fortune and Longevity at the Heavenly Lake of Tianshan in Fukang, Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture
Emin Minaret
Id Kah mosque in Kashgar, largest mosque in China
Erkin Tuniyaz, the incumbent Chairman of the Xinjiang Government

Turpan (also known as Turfan or Tulufan,, تۇرپان) is a prefecture-level city located in the east of the autonomous region of Xinjiang, China.

- Turpan

141–87 BC) wrested the western Tarim Basin away from its previous overlords (the Xiongnu), it was inhabited by various peoples who included the Indo-European speaking Tocharians in Turfan and Kucha, the Saka peoples centered in the Shule Kingdom and the Kingdom of Khotan, the various Tibeto-Burmese groups (especially people related to the Qiang) as well as the Han Chinese people.

- Xinjiang

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The Tarim Basin is the oval-shaped desert in Central Asia.

Tarim Basin

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Endorheic basin in Northwest China occupying an area of about 888,000 km2 and one of the largest basins in Northwest China.

Endorheic basin in Northwest China occupying an area of about 888,000 km2 and one of the largest basins in Northwest China.

The Tarim Basin is the oval-shaped desert in Central Asia.
Physical map showing the separation of Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin (Taklamakan) by the Tien Shan Mountains
Tarim basin ancient boats; they were used for burials
NASA landsat photo of the Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin, 2008
Tarim Basin in the 3rd century
Tarim mummies, found in westernmost Xinjiang, within the Tarim Basin.
Fragmentary painting on silk of a woman playing the go boardgame, from the Astana Cemetery, Gaochang, c. 744 AD, during the late period of Tang Chinese rule (just before the An Lushan Rebellion)
Map of Taizong's campaigns against the Tarim Basin oasis states, allies of the Western Turks.
A document from Khotan written in Khotanese Saka, part of the Eastern Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages, listing the animals of the Chinese zodiac in the cycle of predictions for people born in that year; ink on paper, early 9th century
Uyghur princes from the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves near Turpan, Kingdom of Qocho, 8th-9th centuries
An Islamic cemetery outside the Afaq Khoja Mausoleum in Kashgar
Subashi Buddhist temple ruins
Northern Xinjiang (Dzungar Basin) (yellow), Eastern Xinjiang - Turpan Depression (Turpan Prefecture and Hami Prefecture) (red), and the Tarim Basin (blue)
Uyghurs in Khotan
Fresco, with Hellenistic influences, from a stupa shrine, Miran
Painting of a Christian woman, Khocho (Gaochang), early period of Chinese Tang rule, 602–654 AD

Located in China's Xinjiang region, it is sometimes used synonymously to refer to the southern half of the province, or Nanjiang, as opposed to the northern half of the province known as Dzungaria or Beijiang.

The northern Tarim route ran from Kashgar over Aksu, Kucha, Korla, through the Iron Gate Pass, over Karasahr, Jiaohe, Turpan, Gaochang and Kumul to Anxi.

Uyghurs

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The Uyghurs ( or ), alternatively spelled Uighurs, Uygurs or Uigurs, are a Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central and East Asia.

The Uyghurs ( or ), alternatively spelled Uighurs, Uygurs or Uigurs, are a Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central and East Asia.

A Uyghur girde naan baker
Uyghur man in traditional clothing, playing a tambur, a traditional Uyghur instrument.
A possible Tocharian or Sogdian monk (left) with an East Asian Buddhist monk (right). A fresco from the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, dated to the 9th or 10th century (Kara-Khoja Kingdom).
Uyghur hunter in Kashgar
Uyghur schoolchildren in Kashgar (2011)
Uyghur princes from Cave 9 of the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Xinjiang, China, 8th–9th century AD, wall painting
An 8th-century Uyghur Khagan
Uyghur Khaganate in geopolitical context c. 820 AD
Chagatai Khanate (Moghulistan) in 1490
Ethnolinguistic map of Xinjiang in 1967
Map showing the distribution of ethnicities in Xinjiang according to census figures from 2000, the prefectures with Uyghur majorities are in blue.
Protesters Amsterdam with the Flag of East Turkestan
A Uyghur mosque in Khotan
Map of language families in Xinjiang
Leaf from an Uyghur-Manichaean version of the ‘‘Arzhang’’.
Uyghur Meshrep musicians in Yarkand
Wall painting at Bezeklik caves in Flaming Mountains, Turpan Depression.
Xinjiang carpet factory
Uyghur polu (پولۇ, полу)
Doppa Maker, traditional Uyghur hats, Kashgar
A Uyghur man having his head shaved in a bazaar. Shaving of head is now seen mostly among the older generation.
Uyghur girl in clothing made of fabric with design distinctive to the Uyghurs
Uyghur women on their way to work, Kashgar. 2011

The Uyghurs are recognized as native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China.

Loulan and Khotan were some of the many city-states that existed in the Xinjiang region during the Han Dynasty; others include Kucha, Turfan, Karasahr and Kashgar.

Map including Ürümqi (labeled as TI-HUA (WU-LU-MU-CH'I)) (ATC, 1971)

Ürümqi

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Map including Ürümqi (labeled as TI-HUA (WU-LU-MU-CH'I)) (ATC, 1971)
Map including Ürümqi (labeled as WU-LU-MU-CH'I) and nearby areas from the International Map of the World (1975)
Mosque in Ürümqi
Outer Ring Road viaducts in Ürümqi at night
Buildings in Ürümqi CBDs near People's Square
People's Square
International Grand Bazaar Xinjiang
Xinjiang University of Finance and Economics.
Ürümqi No.1 High School.
Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport.
Ürümqi South Railway Station.

Ürümqi ( also spelled Ürümchi or without umlauts), formerly known as Dihua (also spelled Tihwa), is the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the far northwest of the People's Republic of China.

Ürümqi remained a small town of lesser importance than the oasis and Silk Road trade center Turpan 200 km to the southeast.

Woven silk textile from Tomb No. 1 at Mawangdui, Changsha, Hunan province, China, dated to the Western Han Era, 2nd century BCE

Silk Road

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Network of Eurasian trade routes active from the second century BCE until the mid-15th century.

Network of Eurasian trade routes active from the second century BCE until the mid-15th century.

Woven silk textile from Tomb No. 1 at Mawangdui, Changsha, Hunan province, China, dated to the Western Han Era, 2nd century BCE
Chinese jade and steatite plaques, in the Scythian-style animal art of the steppes. 4th–3rd century BCE. British Museum.
Achaemenid Persian Empire at its greatest extent, showing the Royal Road.
Soldier with a centaur in the Sampul tapestry, wool wall hanging, 3rd–2nd century BCE, Xinjiang Museum, Urumqi, Xinjiang, China.
A ceramic horse head and neck (broken from the body), from the Chinese Eastern Han dynasty (1st–2nd century CE)
Bronze coin of Constantius II (337–361), found in Karghalik, Xinjiang, China
The Silk Road transmission of Buddhism: Mahayana Buddhism first entered the Chinese Empire (Han dynasty) during the Kushan Era. The overland and maritime "Silk Roads" were interlinked and complementary, forming what scholars have called the "great circle of Buddhism".
Central Asia during Roman times, with the first Silk Road
A Westerner on a camel, Northern Wei dynasty (386–534)
Map showing Byzantium along with the other major silk road powers during China's Southern dynasties period of fragmentation.
Coin of Constans II (r. 641–648), who is named in Chinese sources as the first of several Byzantine emperors to send embassies to the Chinese Tang dynasty
A Chinese sancai statue of a Sogdian man with a wineskin, Tang dynasty (618–907)
The empires and city-states of the Horn of Africa, such as the Axumites were important trading partners in the ancient Silk Road.
After the Tang defeated the Gokturks, they reopened the Silk Road to the west.
Marco Polo's caravan on the Silk Road, 1380
Map of Eurasia and Africa showing trade networks, c. 870
The Round city of Baghdad between 767 and 912 was the most important urban node along the Silk Road.
A lion motif on Sogdian polychrome silk, 8th century, most likely from Bukhara
Yuan Dynasty era Celadon vase from Mogadishu.
Map of Marco Polo's travels in 1271–1295
Port cities on the maritime silk route featured on the voyages of Zheng He.
Plan of the Silk Road with its maritime branch
Yangshan Port of Shanghai, China
Port of Trieste
Trans-Eurasia Logistics
The Silk Road in the 1st century
The Nestorian Stele, created in 781, describes the introduction of Nestorian Christianity to China
Fragment of a wall painting depicting Buddha from a stupa in Miran along the Silk Road (200AD - 400AD)
A blue-eyed Central Asian monk teaching an East-Asian monk, Bezeklik, Turfan, eastern Tarim Basin, China, 9th century; the monk on the right is possibly Tocharian, although more likely Sogdian.
Bilingual edict (Greek and Aramaic) by Indian Buddhist King Ashoka, 3rd century BCE; see Edicts of Ashoka, from Kandahar. This edict advocates the adoption of "godliness" using the Greek term Eusebeia for Dharma. Kabul Museum.
A statue depicting Buddha giving a sermon, from Sarnath, 3000 km southwest of Urumqi, Xinjiang, 8th century
Iconographical evolution of the Wind God. Left: Greek Wind God from Hadda, 2nd century. Middle: Wind God from Kizil, Tarim Basin, 7th century. Right: Japanese Wind God Fujin, 17th century.
Caravanserai of Sa'd al-Saltaneh
Sultanhani caravanserai
Shaki Caravanserai, Shaki, Azerbaijan
Two-Storeyed Caravanserai, Baku, Azerbaijan
Bridge in Ani, capital of medieval Armenia
Taldyk pass
Medieval fortress of Amul, Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan
Zeinodin Caravanserai
Sogdian man on a Bactrian camel, sancai ceramic glaze, Chinese Tang dynasty (618–907)
The ruins of a Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) Chinese watchtower made of rammed earth at Dunhuang, Gansu province
A late Zhou or early Han Chinese bronze mirror inlaid with glass, perhaps incorporated Greco-Roman artistic patterns
A Chinese Western Han dynasty (202 BCE – 9 CE) bronze rhinoceros with gold and silver inlay
Han dynasty Granary west of Dunhuang on the Silk Road.
Green Roman glass cup unearthed from an Eastern Han dynasty (25–220 CE) tomb, Guangxi, southern China

The southern stretches of the Silk Road, from Khotan (Xinjiang) to Eastern China, were first used for jade and not silk, as long as 5000 BCE, and is still in use for this purpose.

The northern route travelled northwest through the Chinese province of Gansu from Shaanxi Province and split into three further routes, two of them following the mountain ranges to the north and south of the Taklamakan Desert to rejoin at Kashgar, and the other going north of the Tian Shan mountains through Turpan, Talgar, and Almaty (in what is now southeast Kazakhstan).

Karasahr

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This 17th-century map shows Cialis (Karashar) as of one of the cities in the chain stretching from Hiarcan to Sucieu
The Tarim Basin in the 3rd century, showing the so-called Tocharian and related states.
Soldiers from Karasahr, 8th century CE
Turkish dignitaries visiting king Varkhuman in Samarkand. One of them is labeled as coming from Argi (Karashahr in modern Xinjiang). Afrasiab mural, probably painted between 648 and 651 CE.
Kaidu River in Yanqi

Karasahr or Karashar (قاراشەھەر), which was originally known, in the Tocharian languages as Ārśi (or Arshi) and Agni or the Chinese derivative Yanqi, is an ancient town on the Silk Road and the capital of Yanqi Hui Autonomous County in the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang.

Ārśi was bordered by related Tocharian cultures, many of which also spoke related languages: Kuča (or Kucha), Gumo (later Aksu) to the west, Turfan (Turpan) to the east and to the south, Krorän (Loulan).

The Buddhist stupa of Gaochang ruins

Gaochang

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The Buddhist stupa of Gaochang ruins
Gaochang's location (close to Turpan) on the Silk Road
Manichaean priests, writing at their desks. Manuscript from Qocho. 8th/9th century
Wall painting from a Christian church, Qocho 683–770 CE
Uyghur princesses, cave 9, wall painting from Bezeklik caves
Man of Gaochang (高昌國, Turfan) in 番客入朝圖 (937-976 CE)
Armoured soldier from Gaochang, 8-9th century
The road leading in.
The ruins.
"Main prayer hall<ref>{{Cite web|url=https://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=18,4145,0,0,1,0|title = Buddhist Channel &#124; Travel}}</ref>".
"Main storage building".
Manichaean wall painting.

Gaochang (Old Uyghur: Qocho), also called Karakhoja, Qara-hoja, Kara-Khoja or Karahoja (قاراغوجا in Uyghur), was a ruined, ancient oasis city on the northern rim of the inhospitable Taklamakan Desert in present-day Xinjiang, China.

The ruins are located 30 km southeast of modern Turpan, at a place called Idykut-schari or Idikutschari by local residents.

Tarim Basin in the 3rd century

Kucha

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Ancient Buddhist kingdom located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the northern edge of what is now the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim Basin and south of the Muzat River.

Ancient Buddhist kingdom located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the northern edge of what is now the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim Basin and south of the Muzat River.

Tarim Basin in the 3rd century
Tarim Basin in the 3rd century
Location of Kucha within Xinjiang with the county of Kucha in pink and the prefecture of Aksu in yellow
Kuchean monks and lay devotees circa 300 CE, in the paintings of the Cave of the Hippocampi (Cave 118), Kizil Caves.
The "Peacock Cave", in the Kizil Caves near Kucha, built circa 400 CE.
Kucha ambassador at the Chinese court of Emperor Yuan of Liang in his capital Jingzhou in 516–520 CE, with explanatory text. Portraits of Periodical Offering of Liang, 11th century Song copy.
Royal family of the oasis city-state of Kucha (King, Queen and young Princes), Cave 17, Kizil Caves. Circa 500 CE, Hermitage Museum.
Dali coins founded in Kucha
Bust of a bodhisattva from Kucha, 6th-7th century. Guimet Museum.
Wooden plate with inscription in a Tocharian language. Kucha, 5th-8th century. Tokyo National Museum.
A "Han Gui bilingual Wu Zhu coin" (漢龜二體五銖錢) produced by the Kingdom of Kucha with both a Chinese and what is presumed to be a Kuśiññe inscription.
King Suvarnapushpa of Kucha, from Cave 69, Kizil Caves.

The area lies in present-day Aksu Prefecture, Xinjiang, China; Kuqa town is the county seat of that prefecture's Kuqa County.

In 74 CE, Chinese troops started to take control of the Tarim Basin with the conquest of Turfan.

Korla

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Tarim Basin in the 3rd century
Old and new live side-by-side in Korla
Iron Gate Pass

Korla, also known as Kurla or from Mandarin Chinese as Ku'erle or Kuerle, is the second largest city in Xinjiang.

"The shops are somewhat better than at Karashar, but not so good as at Turfan."

A carved wooden beam from Loulan in the British Museum, 3rd-4th century. The patterns show influences from ancient western civilizations.

Loulan Kingdom

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Ancient kingdom based around an important oasis city along the Silk Road already known in the 2nd century BCE on the northeastern edge of the Lop Desert.

Ancient kingdom based around an important oasis city along the Silk Road already known in the 2nd century BCE on the northeastern edge of the Lop Desert.

A carved wooden beam from Loulan in the British Museum, 3rd-4th century. The patterns show influences from ancient western civilizations.
The Tarim Basin in the 3rd century, showing two sites of the town of Loulan, the Shanshan kingdom, and the related states
Loulan silk fragment
Krořän/Loulan and several other Indo-European oases kingdoms as Western Region Protectorate of the Han.
Oxhide boots from Loulan. Former Han dynasty 220 BCE-8 CE.
Fragment of carpet discovered by Aurel Stein in a refuse pit at Loulan. 3rd–4th century.
Felt and feather hat from Loulan. Early Han dynasty 202 BCE–8 CE
Winged male figure, with Hellenistic influences, from the mural paintings signed Tita in the Loulan site of Miran (Xinjiang), 3rd century CE
Male face with a caduceus 200–400 AD. The staff suggests the Greek deity Hermes.
Kharosthi document found in Loulan by Aurel Stein
Loulan Museum, Charklik

The ruins of Loulan are near the now-desiccated Lop Nur in the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang and they are now completely surrounded by desert.

Sogdians, an Eastern Iranian people, maintained minority communities in various places in China at the time, especially Dunhuang in Gansu and Turfan in the Tarim Basin.

The Western Regions in the first century BC.

Western Regions

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The Western Regions in the first century BC.
Tang campaign against the oasis states (640–648)

The Western Regions or Xiyu (Hsi-yü; ) was a historical name specified in the Chinese chronicles between the 3rd century BC to the 8th century AD that referred to the regions west of Yumen Pass, most often Central Asia or sometimes more specifically the easternmost portion of it (e.g. Altishahr or the Tarim Basin in southern Xinjiang), though it was sometimes used more generally to refer to other regions to the west of China as well, such as the Indian subcontinent (as in the novel Journey to the West).

The peoples of oasis city-states of Hotan and Kashgar spoke Saka, one of the Eastern Iranian languages, whereas the people of Kucha, Turpan and Loulan Kingdom spoke the Tocharian languages.