Ruins of Yotkan, Hotan

Today, many ruins, which in ancient times used to be small cities and towns, can be found in the vicinity of Hotan. The time and pitiless desert almost completely destroyed these ancient settlements, leaving only the memory of them, and just a few material evidences in the form of terracotta figurines, ancient coins and fragments of clay pots.

One of such cities is Yotkan. The scientists believe that this ancient city was one of the few Zoroastrian towns in Xinjiang. In the late XIX - early XX centuries it was investigated and described by such well-known archaeologists and explorers as Sven Hedin (1896), a year later, George McCartney put together a collection of antiquities from the settlement of Yotkan and sent them to Rudolph Hoernlé, the first researcher of East Turkestan, suggesting that Yotkan was the remains of the ancient capital of Hotan.

Today’s Yotkan is a small hill in the middle of fields and ditches. The rest that was not destroyed by time and wilderness was destroyed by the local residents, who, incognizant of the value of this monument, took the earth from the hill for their own needs. A few years later Yotkan ceased to exist, and the city, once being beautiful, only left memories and numerous tangible assets stored in various museums around the world.

A huge collection of Yotkan finds is displayed in the Hotan cultural museum. Another large collection is found in the Oriental Department of the Hermitage, as well as in museums of England, Sweden and France. Smaller collections of Yotkan values are kept in the museums of Germany and the United States.