Jiaohe Ruins an ancient city on the Silk Road

Jiaohe Ruins Turpan Xinjiang
With a history of over 2,000 years, the Jiaohe Ruins are among the oldest, largest and best preserved in the world. Located along the historic Silk Road, this millenary city has witnessed a twirling past. Without any defenses, Jiaohe's houses and temples are still well-preserved and distinguished.

Multi-millennial City

In this far eastern part of China, the Han Chinese ethnic group was not the first on the scene. The city of Jiaohe actually had been established a few hundred years BC by a Caucasian ethnic group, the Cheshi. The Han Empire then took possession of the land and developed the ancient city on the Silk Road. It was unfortunately destroyed and abandoned during the Mongol invasion led by Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century. Nevertheless, despite the centuries of neglect, the city remains one of the best preserved ancient cities in the world. It is also one of the oldest.

A City without Defenses 

One unique facet about Jiaohe’s landscape is that it is not protected by a defensive wall, although it is located on the Silk Road. This feature distinguishes it from other ancient cities. But when you look at its location, we may get the reasons. Indeed, located between two rivers, this is actually a naturally protected area with protection from all sides of the island. In addition to rivers, there is a 20-30 feet high cliff at which the city is located. The city was naturally difficult to access and required no additional protection.

Carved City

Distinguished from other ancient cities, Jiaohe was carved into the cliff. Indeed, instead of building a city on the cliff, it would be the latter, which was patterned to form houses, temples, trails and even underground dwellings. The hardness of the stone and scarcity of water may explain the abandonment of the city centuries ago, yet these reasons may explain how the city has remained so neglected and well preserved thereafter. The city, which extends 1.6 kilometers long and 300 meters at its widest part, is clearly divided in two by its main road. On one side are the residential areas and, on other side, there are places of worship. Some buildings are extremely well preserved, such as a 50 meter wide Buddhist temple, stupas and even a cemetery. Suffice to say that the visit to the latter may be emotionally charged, as this cemetery of old houses dates back to 2000 years ago. Overall, Jiaohe was a popular destination that, at its peak, had welcomed 7,000 people!



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