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The Ruins of Jiaohe Ancient City

The ruins of the Jiaohe ancient city can be seen in the Yaernaizi Valley in western suburbs of Turban City in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The valley was created by floods in remote antiquity and in its centre, there is a willow leaf-shaped platform which is 1650 metres long and 30 metres wide. Surrounded by steep rocks, the valley is about 30 metres deep. According to historical data, here used to be the location of the capital of the Frontal Kingdom of Cheshi. During the Sixteen Kingdoms Period and the Northern Dynasties (304-581 AD), this was the seat of Jiaohe Prefecture of Gaochang Kingdom, which became the seat of Jiaohe County of Gaochang Prefecture after the 14th year of Zhenguan Reign in the Tang Dynasty (640 AD).

Today, the ruins there can reflect the size of the county seat during its peak years in the Tang Dynasty.

Most of the buildings were concentrated in an area of about 1000 square metres in the southeast part of the platform. The layout was quite complete, there were wide streets and city gates on the east, south and west. At present, one can find well-preserved ruins of official buildings, temples, streets and graveyards there

The ruins, very rare in the world, are extremely valuable for studying ancient cities.

The 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.
.It was capital of the State of South Cheshi which was one of thirty-six states in the western region in earlier period. As described in the dynasty history book The Notes on the Western Region, A History of the Han Dynasty :"the State of South Cheshi made the city of Jiaohe its capital, which was circled by river


flowing by the city, hence the name of 'Jiaohe'( the city of joining rivers)." The Ancient City was built on a plateau which is about 30 meters high, is 1,650 meters long, the widest place is up to 300 meters. The city has no walls and is protected by the natural fortification of the precipitous cliffs.
   In western Han Dynasty, central government established "Jiaohebi" (an administrative division) and appointed and dispatched a commanding general officer to the Turpan area. During the period for the Northern Wei Dynasty to the beginning of the Tang Dynasty, Jiaohebi was Jiaohe Prefecture under the jurisdiction of Gaochang kingdom. Anxi Military Viceroy's Office, the highest civil and military administrative organ set up by the Tang government in the Western Region, was first established in the city. Between the middle of 9th century, the city was occupied by Tibetans. After that, it was called Jiaohe Prefecture and fell under the jurisdiction of the Huigu Gaochang kingdom. In the middle of the 13th century, was destroyed in Mongolian aristocratic rebellions.
   The size of the existing ruins indicates its great prosperity during Tang Dynasty by and large. There are two city gates, the southern gate is main, but was destroyed. The eastern gate is relatively well-preserved, with visible gateway and mortice openings for mounting the gate lintels. There are hideouts built in the gate for soldiers to defend the city.
The ruins of architectures' are is about 220,000 square meters in city. They may be divided into temple? inhabitants? office, etc parts by and large. Entering southern gate, there is a main road which is about 350 meters, is 10 meters wide, and cross through the center of the city's biggest temple of Buddha in whole city. The stupa still exist before the gate of temple of Buddha, you may look at the scenery of whole city standing the stupa. There are many temples of Buddha, southeastern area of the city are located administrative office buildings and official residences which are the only big buildings built of bricks and tiles in whole city is in this region. According to research, the two-story building is probably the seat of Anxi's Military Viceroy's Office during the Tang Dynasty .
   The architecture style is different from Gaochang's, most dig the ground for yard, dig the hole for rooms, ramming for walls, most of the houses are two-storied without windows near the street, and courtyard gates are hidden in deep lanes. These are architecture style of Tang Dynasty .Now tourists come here, they still can work along the streets and go through the halls into the charming inner rooms. In 1961,the ancient city of Jiaohe was classified important cultural relics unit protected by the state.

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