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The Gaochang Ruins

gaochang-ruins The ancient city of Gaochang is located near the seat of the "Flaming Mountains" township, 46 kilometers southeast of the city of Turpan

gaochang-ruins01The city walls are high and the crisscrossing streets and the city moat are still visible. The city walls, which are basically intact, divide the city into three parts: the inner city, the outer city, and the palace city. The 5.4 kilometer-long wall of the square outer city is 11.5 meters high and 12 meters thick. The wall is built of tamped earth, with some sections repaired with adobe.

Archeological evidence and historical documentation say that the city contained markets, temples, workshops and residences. The ruins cover an area of more than 2,000,000 sq meters (about 494 acres) and consist of three parts: the outer city, the inner city and the palace. Surrounding the outer city was a thick rectangular wall with nine gates, three in the south and two each in the other three directions. In the southwest section, a temple existed consisting of an entrance gate; a courtyard, the chanting hall, the main hall and the residences are still identifiable. The inner city is badly decayed; only the western and eastern parts are preserved. Khan's Castle, in the middle of the western part, is considered to be the ruins of a palace.

Although many buildings are no more than ruins, the ancient city of Gaochang still stands as a testament to the long history and importance of the Silk Road.