Unesco World Heritage Site
Jiaohe Ruins is one of the important archaeological site in Yarnaz Valley, 10 km west of Turpan in Xinjiang China. The ruins are located along the Silk Road and best preserved ancient city in the world, a Unesco World Heritage Site. If you are in Xinjiang, this would be the number ONE must visit place! You can do Karez Well and Jiaohe as both are located nearby at the west of Turpan.
Get an Intro at Museum
There is a little museum before entering to Jiaohe Ruins. You can listen to the short video introduction of Jiaohe in Mandarin only and subtitles in English.
There is a model showing Jiaohe strategic location on top of the hill surrounded by a river.
Touching Buddha Feet For Good Luck
Preparation Before Stepping into Jiaohe Ruins
When you entering the Jiaohe ruins, you would feel the excruciating heat from this area. Not sure how the ancient people survive back then? Bring along umbrella and water, wear a hat, sunglasses and apply sunscreen before you stepped food at these ruins.
Meaning of Jiaohe /交河
Anyone who read Chinese will know Jiaohe mean where two rivers meet. It is the oldest and largest earthen cities which were built 2,300 years ago. As you know the ancient city usually has a city wall. However, there are no city walls for this ancient city if you try to look around.
Visit with Guide
It is better to come here with a knowledgeable guide so you can understand what these ruins were used for, eg Government office, residents or Buddhist temples. If you don’t have a guide, you may want to listen well to the intro at Jiaohe museum. There is also small signboard telling what these ruins are for.
Tatooine city in Star Wars
All the buildings here were constructed out of the earth, look like the Tatooine city in Star Wars.
Well Preserved Ancient City of 7,000 People
Jiaohe ruins used to have a population of 7,000 and it is located at a very important crossroads of Silk Road for ancient merchants to do their business here. I have seen few ruins in other parts of the world but none as a complete set as this one here. Jiaohe Ruins is vast!
2 Hours to complete the Ruins
As I said, Jiaohe Ruins are really huge, you need at least a minimum of 2 hours to explore the whole area.
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Good Walking Path
There is plenty of walking but good walking path was done for the tourists, so it is very easy to walk. Don’t step out from the walking path as you may damage the ruins.
NO shelter in this area, so brings along an umbrella or big scarf to protect you from the sun.
This was a sophisticated city which was divided into 4 parts :
- Stupa Grove – it marks Xinjiang’s earliest stupas.
- Great Monastery – there were several monasteries in Jiaohe and also the city largest.
- Government Offices – this is dug underground so we walked down with stairs to check out the layout of the courtyard.
- Residential Area – Most of the houses were carved out of the ground.
When you are done, enjoy the melons outside!
There are huge watermelons and hami melon selling at the resting area once you are done with Jiaohe Ruins. I didn’t get any of the melons as I was concerned with their hygiene. I finished 2 bottles of drinks from the stall instead. Yes, I was so thirsty after hours of pretending to be an archeologist.
Final thoughts :
We were here in the summer, also the hottest season of the year. You could not believe how hot it was, just like inside an oven! Bring along water to explore Jiaohe Ruins, you definitely need it half way. The good thing about coming in the summer is less crowded, that way better photo opportunities with no photo bombs.
This is a remarkable site along ancient Silk Road and you cannot miss this world largest and most well-maintained ruins!