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The Big Year Out-Gaochang

Gaochang

Here from my epic journey on the silk route in 2012/13 is my look at Gaochang in China. It was one of the highlights for me of the trip, I am a bit into ancient sites, I have a great connection with them, and I don't know why? Anyway I hope you get a taste for what out there and how the Chinese are trying to restore it!

Located 30 kilometres south-east of Turpan City, Gaochang, is an ancient city built on the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert and to the south of the Flaming Mountains. Built in the 1st century BC, Gaochang, was an important area along the Silk Road. It was burnt down and destroyed in the 14th century due to increased warfare. The old palace and city ruins can be seen today as they've been well-preserved.

Gaochang was once a fertile and prosperous city serving as capital for three western states in ancient times. The location of Gaochang was ideal as it was located in the middle of the Turpan Basin and the city’s layout was designed with high walls and deep moats, making it a significant military fortress for the Western Region for centuries. With an area of about 2 million square meters, the Ancient Ruins contain the outer and inner cities, along with a palace.

The layout of the city is similar to that of Chang’an (capital of the Tang Dynasty at that time, today’s Xi’an). It is said that, “If you want to learn about the prosperity of the Tang Dynasty, Gaochang Ancient Ruins will show you.” The outer city is surrounded by 11-meter high and 12-meter wide mud walls and nine city gates. The inner city is a 3-kilometer long rectangle that shares its southern wall with the Palace in the northern part of the inner city. A pagoda called, “The Castle of Khan” (meaning “Imperial Palace”) stands on a high stage there. With a history of about 1,300 years, Gaochang, has witnessed many ups and downs in the Turpan region. These delicate ancient ruins have been listed as precious cultural relics under state protection.

Posted by TheJohnsons 20:37 Archived in China Tagged architecture desert culture temple history travel ruins vacation fort mountain city china building cave sand place national stone old road bc destination buddhist attraction wall asian asia first antique ancient tourism historic chinese landmark cultural hall outdoors key silk century khan ruin basin protection relics xinjiang floor heat past lecture turpan units gentleman uyghur gaochang jiaohe tripitaka taklamakan tamrin Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Yumen Pass or The Jade Gate

In 2012 I took the minivans that do the trip out to the Jade Gate on the historic Silk route. Everyone had to go through here to access either China or the Central Asia continent and beyond into Europe. This is where my Silk Route Journey finished and my South East Asia Trip began.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 20:35 Archived in China Tagged sky architecture water desert tower view nature landscape history travel vacation province scenery china blue building famous sand heritage hill castle rock stone old road historical scenic yellow sunny wall dry antique ancient tourism historic chinese outdoor gate landmark pass silk dynasty jade ruin gobi han dunhuang gansu yumen fangpa Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Graffitti and Street Art Singapore

In 2013 I was in the amazing city of Singapore where I sought and found some of the wonderful street art you will see here in this slideshow

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:35 Archived in Singapore Tagged art architecture home view landscape singapore culture traditional street travel town thailand malaysia urban city new china white building house heritage window light red old festival wall asian beauty asia antique tourism shop style chinese vintage outdoor landmark design decoration colorful classic symbol exterior facade background draw vector illustration peranakan Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Persepolis

During my "Silk Route" journey in 2012 I travelled through Iran and of course the route Alexander the Great took to Persepolis the ancient City of Persia. Now in ruins, this UNESCO World Heritage is one that you really need to see to understand and get a feel of. The area of the site is vast and seems to just keep going and going. It is pretty amazing to walk around and imagine how it would have looked in the 4th century.

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:34 Archived in Iran Tagged sky architecture monument culture history travel ruins statue palace city king blue world sand heritage sculpture stone old historical outside unesco site capital wall east middle antique ancient tourism historic sight iran persia persepolis carving gate landmark archeology empire shiraz persian dynasty ruin iranian relief nations excavations basalt bas-relief achaemenid xerxes Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Khiva


View The Big Year Out & Things we wish we had done & Photos of us & Photographic Equipement & Visas & Transport and bookings on TheJohnsons's travel map.

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Khiva;
Beautiful restored living citadel town which is so refreshing after seeing so many abandoned ones in Turkmenistan. First thing that struck me about the Uzbeks here is how relaxed and laid back they are. Meros (see review) was a good place to start, even the border guards at the Uzbek border knew about Meros!

In Khiva, it was the first time we had seen bus loads of tourists sinceTurkey! You can by a two day ticket for all the sites within the citadel, pay in soumme as it works out cheaper than paying in dollars, as the official rate is less than the black-market rate. We found the official rate was just under 1900 to the dollar and the unofficial was 2800(exceptSamarkandwhere we got 2700). So you see it pays to pay in Soumme. There were two sites within Khiva which were not included on the ticket, the Kuha Ark; you have to pay extra to go up onto the bastion where you get magnificent views of Khiva. The Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum and all minarets have additional charges (albeit small ones). Another particular site within the citadel we really enjoyed was the Juma mosque which was cool and peaceful and beautiful when we went there.
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The eateries were more expensive inside the citadel, but the one café we frequented for two or three nights also had a wifi spot, which was very reliable, right next to the unfinished minaret. Food was cheaper outside the citadel walls and we even found more than one great supermarket right opposite The Isfandiyar Palace which is also well worth a visit. The prices at the supermarkets were a fraction of those in the cafes etc.

Water pressure is not great in the Old town, not sure but can’t imagine that its any better outside as Khiva does suffer with this. We managed to get a bumblebee sim card through our hosts at Meros, and is well worth getting for calls and texts around Uzbekistan. ATM can be found at the Outside south Gate, Hotel Asia, which only takes MasterCard and Maestro, no visa

Posted by TheJohnsons 23:26 Archived in Uzbekistan Tagged art architecture mosque tower culture religion history traditional travel town urban city building heritage mosaic old road muslim unesco central religious wall east asia antique ancient tourism historic dome fortress gate landmark oriental decoration silk persian islam arabic exterior uzbekistan minaret bukhara kala islamic khiva uzbek majolica madrasah khorezm itchan Comments (0)

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