The Overview of Gaochang Ruins
The ancient city Gaochang is one of the two famous ruins along the ancient silk road. (The other one is Jiaohe Ruins). it is located in Sanbaoxiang, 40 km. (25 mi.) away from Turpan of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Gaochang Ruins was built in the 1st century BC, and destroyed in war in the 13th century. After 2,000 years of time, you can still feel the magnificence of this ancient city. In 1961, Gaochang Ruins was listed as a cultural site under national protection.
Covering an area of 2 million sq. m (494 ac.), it is the largest ruins ever preserved from the Western Regions. This city takes the shape of a rectangle with a perimeter of 5 km. (3 mi.). It consists of three parts: outer city, inner city and the palace. The base of the outer city is 12 m. (39 ft.) wide and the walls made of rammed earth are 11.5 m. (38 ft.) high. The whole city has nine doors opening to the outside.
What to See in Gaochang Ruins
What is really worth a visit is the two temples standing at the southwest and the southeast corners of the outer city. The southwest one covers an area of 10,000 and comprises of a sermon house, a courtyard, an inscription storing room and a monk room. In the other temple, there is a prayer cave where they have the frescos stored. There used to be two lofty pagodas on both sides of the temple gate. Nowadays only ruins and their past glory remain. Besides, you can also find Buddha statues and murals in the niche.
In north of Gaochang, there lies the vast Gobi desert where the body of ancient people died are buried. The tombs stretch 5 km. (3 mi.) from east to west and 2 km. (1.2 mi.) from south to north, covering a total area of about 10 sq. m. (108 sq. ft.). Since the beginning of this century, more than 500 tombs have been excavated and thousands of cultural relics have been found including writings, silk and cotton fabrics, coins, epigraghs, clay statues, paintings and even food and fruits.
After visiting Ruins, you can also pay a visit to Astana Graves and the Flaming Mountains. The former is only 4 km. (2.4 mi.) away from Gaochang while the latter is 11 km. (6.8 mi.) from there.