Turpan ( Meals: -/L/- )
Depart from your hotel to visit the Ancient City of Gaochang. Built in the first century B.C., it used to be a garrison town and later became a key point along the ancient Silk Road. The city was burnt down around the 14th century.
The ruins originally consisted of three parts: the inner and outer cities, and a palace complex. Nine city gates were built on cardinal points, three in the south and two in each other three directions respectively. Visitors are usually suggested to enter the best preserved one in the west to the core. The best preserved structures in the ruins are two temple/monasteries in the southwest and southeast corners of the outer city section. In the southwestern temple, the front gate, courtyard, lecture hall, main hall, and monastic dormitories are relatively intact. The southeast temple has the only preserved fresco in the ruins.
Then visit the Ancient Astana Tombs. This Tang-dynasty burial ground known as the "Underground Museum" attracts stream of archaeologists both at home and abroad Astana means "capital" in Uigur and Karakhoja is the name of a legendary hero of the ancient Uigur Kingdom who expelled the evils by killing a vicious dragon. The tombs range 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) from north to south and 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from east to west. The imperial dead of Gaochang and noble officials were buried here. However, curiously, the tomb of King Gaochang has been found nowhere in the tombs.
After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Ancient City of Jiaohe, The city is situated on an island between two rivers and was initially built about 2000 years ago and for a long period of time. The city, situated along the silk road, was of great military significance and played a pivotal role in the economic development of Western and Eastern countries. Since its decline, what was left of the city has steadily deteriorated. At present, natural forces threaten the site erosion by gale force winds which blow dust and sand against the walls and fill the streets and courtyards with sand. Erosion of the cliffs by floodwater, threatening them with collapse, is the most serious and urgent threat to the ruins.
Finally visit the Flaming Mountains & Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves.
The Flaming Mountains are one of the branch ranges of the Tianshan Mountains, lying in the middle of the Turpan Depression and running from east to west for about 100 kilometers with its extreme width of 10 kilometers. Its highest peak is 40 kilometers east of the city of Turpan and 831.7 meters above sea level.
Crystal movements and years of efflorescence fashion its unique geological feature. When the sun rays beat down in mid-afternoon, the red rocks on the crisscross gullies and ravines reflect and the heat is intense as if the hillsides were engulfed by tongues of fire, hence the name.
Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves contain 67 caves dating from the Northern and Southern dynasties (317 - 589) to the Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368). In the Uigur language Bezeklik means "place where there are paintings" It used to be an important center for Buddhist worship under the Xizhou Huigu government of Gaochang Kindom, which built the royal temple of the King of Huigu at this site. The caves are well hidden and rest on a long ridge overlooking a valley where the monastery was located. Among 83 numbered grottoes, about 40 of them have rich remains of murals. Some murals present clearly the figurines of the Huigu people; some showed Indian monks and portraits of Buddhas at different periods throughout history.
This trip price includes:
-All meals as specified in the itinerary.
-Transfers among sightseeing scenic spots & hotels as specified in the itinerary by private car or coach with driver & English speaking guide.
-Entrance fees for sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary with English speaking guide
-Arrangements for the planning, handling, operational and communication charges.
The trip price does not include:
-Hotels accommodations and breakfast.
-Any meals which are not included in the " The trip price includes".
-Domestic flights, trains or buses, international air and train tickets for coming & leaving mainland China.
-Travel insurance in mainland China during the above travel period.
-Excess Baggage Charges.
-Personal expenses: The items of a purely personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips to guides or drivers, FAX, telephone, excess baggage charges, or sightseeing or meals which are not included in the day to day itinerary.
-Insurance coverage of personal loss, illness or damages incurred during your trip.
-Gratuities, tips to guides and drivers.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia China Local Culture Cultural Journey Archeology/History