Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sights of Turpan

Turpan is HOT! They weren't kidding when they said this is the hottest city in China! It is HOT! The day we arrived, it was a high of 41C. Yikes. What fun that was walking around with a big backpack trying to find a room. Alas, we found one and are really glad we came here. (We read bad reviews from another traveller and were going to skip it.)

We were surprised to see that Turpan has a lot of Chinese influence on it, although we shouldn't be that surprised as it is the closest city to the mainland. It's a small city of only 56,000 but has been a great place to relax. We've been loading up on skewers galore to get our fix before heading out to the east. Man, I'm going to miss these skewers.:( By far, Kashgar has had the best skewers in the province.

Yesterday, we hired a cab and went out to see some of the sights of Turpan. On our way to our first sight, we noticed that there were beds outside houses everywhere and there were people still sleeping in them! We never noticed this in other regions of Xinjiang but perhaps it was because we had never been out this early (8am Beijing time which is actually 6am Xinjiang time). It was amazing that everyone was sleeping outside, we aren't sure why but we assume it's just a way of life.

We first stopped off at a small grape producing village, Tuyoq, which still retains much of its tradition. Pretty cool.

Next, we stopped off on the road to check out the Flaming mountain. Apparently, in midday, the sun makes it look like the mountain is on fire. Not for us. A couple snaps and we were off!

We then stopped at the Karez. This is a cool irrigation system developed by the Uighurs 2000 years ago as a means of getting water from the mountains down to the villages. They built underground channels to distribute the flow of the water collected from the mountains down to the villages. Pretty cool.

Jiaohe ruins were next and they were totally amazing! I was expecting a couple buildings here and there but this was an entire city in ruins! This city is old too, it was first established a couple hundred years BC! It was ruined in a war in the early Ming Dynasty (early 1300s). We explored the city as much as we could but many areas were off limits as they were crumbling. It was also midday and in a city of ruins, there was barely any shade ... it was HOT! Regardless, it was fascinating to see. I can't believe it was still standing after a couple thousand years!

Last stop was just to take a quick snapshot of the Emin Minaret. Very pretty building but we didn't go in. Heard it wasn't worth it.

Had more skewers after we came back :) and some popcorn (the popcorn here is really good too!) . I'm really going to miss Xinjiang province. It's been absolutely amazing here. Another place I would highly recommend to anyone thinking of visiting this part of the world.

Tonight, we're catching a sleeper train back out to Lanzhou and another sleeper train the day after that out to Datong in Shanxi province. Slowly making our way out to Beijing where we are planning to apply for our Mongolian visas.


At 8:38 AM, Anonymous felix said...

holy, 41C!!!! and here in T.O. we're complaining about it being 29 (ok, we're not complaining really)... that's hot. i wonder if you can just cook skewers on the ground...

At 7:11 AM, Anonymous Bald Guy said...

Hey Kiddo, when are you guys going to be in Beijing, and for how long?


Post a Comment

<< Home