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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-Hotan Bazaar

Hotan Sunday Market
Hotan’ s bazaar is also called The Sunday market. Local people call it Chukubaza (meaning is low location market) located in the north-eastern corner of Hotan city. It is one of the biggest markets in southern Xinjiang. It has many special sections for the market. The Bazaar in Hotan is active every day, but the Sunday is special day, when it gets flooded by hundreds and thousands of people on Sunday. The kind of people who come to the market are people from seven counties of Hotan and some other prefecture of Xinjiang. They sell all kinds of special local Hotan such as beautiful styled dresses can be seen or bought and many sweet fruits and delicious dishes as well as snacks can be tasted. Minority Products and Souvenirs local made carpets and roll jade. local people say that it is possible to find everything accept Chicken milk, cows egg in Europeans style.
While you are in the market, please remember the word “posh” that means get out of the way in Uyghur language, as soon as you hear this word, please watch yourself. The best time to go to the market is after 8:30 AM Xinjian time.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 21:15 Archived in China Tagged sky sea oasis desert view park landscape monument ruins fort the of china white death sand door hill pagoda road bush black land moon asian dry out asia quiet relax chinese alone peace silk calm jade ruin basin tibetan xinjiang archeological awesome nur lop asiatic hotan solitary slowly tarim grit taklamakan karakax uigur yurungkash rawak Comments (0)

The Big Year Out -Hotan Nr. Taklamakan Desert


View The Big Year Out & Photos of us & Transport and bookings on TheJohnsons's travel map.

large_1842667_1348816681770.jpgIn the Peoples sq. Mao with local heroHotan- please note that there is more to come on Hotan [Hotan-travel-guide-221834]!!!!Just posting what I can when I can as internet is so hard to access in the western side.

Our 6hr bus journey from Yarkand [Yarkand-travel-guide-1335370] to Hotan was pretty uneventful. We got onto our bus at the Yarkand bus terminal, again helped by friendly local terminal staff. Same routine, bags away and seated we found ourselves on a bus full of mostly young people on their way back to College/University in Hotan. This journey was to skirt the southern side of theTaklamakanDesert. Only stops we experienced were the obligatory police check points, where everybody had to get off the bus to have their ID checked, as soon as they saw our passports we were waved through.large_1842667_13488166816540.jpgsome of the first modernity we saw!How nice, as I had visions of having to take out all our bags and empty everything and have passport details filled out in triplicate in Chinese and then having to sign it or something. Nope, just waved straight through. The second one was a very punctual and on the dot for three hour wee stop. Most of the young men seemed to use it primarily as a smoke stop. I followed two of the girls to the “facilities”, which were the usual drop toilets. Not the best, but hey! When you gotta go, you gotta go!

The scenery on the way to Hotan started with lots of green, mostly maize and sunflowers, lined with trees. Then we hit Desert, Long and very flat and very very barren desert. Sometimes just for fun you would see a giant Chinese cement factory stuck in the middle of nowhere billowing out dust and smoke, surrounded by small very harsh looking settlements for workers.large_1842667_13488166828771.jpgPeoples park is very busy with families and , People in the evenings, such a nice atmosphereFollowed by even more dramatic flatlands with small scrub, again temperatures were hot I guess they must have been in the high eighties and I was glad of the air con on the bus.

We arrived in Hotan around5.45pmand this time we did our homework on the Binguans. Our choice was right next to the bus station. Jiaotong Binguan, registered to take tourists, clean and cheap, well within our budget anyway, we paid 160rb for a twin room with own bathroom, western WC and shower.

It was time to get bearings on this larger town, so out we went in search of “Marcos” as per LP. I know I said I wouldn’t do that, but we did. After a very interesting walk through the markets and down thoughtfully placed subways (traffic here is not for the feint hearted) we found Marcos, we had read in LP that the staff spoke good English and this time LP got it right and they did! We were welcomed in and served very tasty food along with some help with our plans for our visits around Hotan.large_1842667_1348816682511.jpgDesert is so close to Hotan, just 20mins drive away.(See review). After our meal we walked to the peoples park, where there is a huge statue of Mao with a local Uighar man who had journeyed to se him and was honoured as this is one of only three statues of Mao with anyone else (see pics) the friezes were stunning around the base too. The park was full of people of all ages, mostly families enjoying themselves with their children and so many playing volleyball type games or just encouraging their very young ones to play too. I did comment to Angela how there seemed to be so many red paper lanterns around the edge of the park, I suppose I thought that sort of thing was just for tourists, but as we had not seen one other single tourist so far, I wasn’t sure.

We walked back to our hotel by the bus station, we needed to plan our net couple of days and already knew we were going to the Bazaar the following morning, well lunchtime as no one gets up early on a Sunday.

Bazaar day!

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Posted by TheJohnsons 23:42 Archived in China Tagged sky architecture desert nature landscape history travel mountain adventure fall scenery china blue golden a sand no day one west wilderness old scenic northwest dune yellow natural dry asia gold tourism horizon clean outdoor dust gobi extreme pure xinjiang wide background level dunhuang terrain gansu unmanned transparent taklamakan barren boundless Comments (0)

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