The ancient city of Jiaohe, Turpan

Ancient Jiaohe - a secure trading post on the Silk Road

Not far from Turpan city, in the Yarnaz valley there lies the ancient city of Jiaohe whose history began 2,300 years ago. Thanks to its location the city is not just extant, it has survived almost pristine. Today, this is one of the main attractions of Xinjiang.

Jiaohe is translated from Chinese as an “interstream area”. Indeed, it is true that the city lies on a cliff in the intertwining of the two rivers; such location was contributing much to the protection and prosperity of the city for centuries. It was one of the safest trade points on the Great Silk Road. Jiaohe did not require walls, since the 30-meter height of the cliff and the river near the city served as a natural defense against enemy’s attacks.

The ancient city of Jiaohe, Turpan The ancient city of Jiaohe, Turpan The ancient city of Jiaohe, Turpan

For a long time the city was one of the richest and most prosperous settlements in East Turkestan. It was a member of many state associations. In the early periods of its history, Jiaohe was the capital of the Cheshi Kingdom where lived over 6.5 millions of inhabitants. However, neither the city’s fortification features, nor its wealth protected the inhabitants from the Mongol invasion in the XIII century. Although the city itself was hardly affected, all of its inhabitants were either killed or taken prisoners, and the townspeople who survived left that place for good.

The ancient city of Jiaohe, Turpan The ancient city of Jiaohe, Turpan The ancient city of Jiaohe, Turpan

Today, walking around the city, you can still see traces of the last settlers: dishware or an ancient pot left on a hearth. Some living quarters have been well preserved. You can even imagine how a thousand years ago the life was humming there. The city’s layout can be traced very clearly. In the center there was a broad main street with its both sides crowded with shops and houses of wealthy residents. In addition, there survived ruins of an ancient Buddhist temple, built in 360, and fragments of the city gates.

Today Jiaohe is given a new lease of life. The city became one of the most popular places in Xinjiang. Restoration works, as well as various events dedicated to the history of Jiaohe are held there every year.