Ancient City of Jiaohe
The Ancient City of Jiaohe is 10km (6 miles) west of Turpan in the Yarnaz Valley. Jiaohe means "intersecting rivers" and the ruins are located on top of a 30 meter (98ft) cliff carved out by 2 long dried up rivers. 2000 years ago, Jiaohe was powerful and important - it was the capital of the state of South Cheshi, one of the kingdoms of the Han dynasty (206-220BC) and was eventually incorporated into the Uighur empire in the 9th century BC. The city was at its cultural peak under the Uighurs, but Mongol rebellions led to its demise and by the Yuan dynasty (1280-1368AD) Jiaohe was deserted.
The dusty ruins reveal the structure of the city - the impressive 1,650 meter (5,410ft) long city walls and the huts, temples, watchtowers, courtyards, streets and wells. A Buddhist monastery complete with dagoba, stands in the center of the city and inside there are the remains of several headless statues of the Buddha enclosed in niches.