Turpan in Xinjiang is one of the important cities for Ancient Silk Road. Luckily it is still able to preserve several monuments of ancient Uyghur architecture. Emin Minaret is just one of them. We were here in the morning and luckily the crowd was not too bad yet.
Also known as (Su Gong Ta / 苏公塔)
Emin Minaret is the highest tower in Xinjiang, built in 1777 and completed in a year time. It was built in honor of a local Turpan General, Emin Khoja. Hence it is called Emin Minaret. In Chinese it is called (Su Gong Ta / 苏公塔). ‘Ta’ mean Tower in Chinese. Actually, Emin Minaret was built by Sulaiman, son of Emin Khoja.
This is a very good example of an Islamic architecture, similar to Qutub Minar Delhi, Minaret in India. Emin Minaret in Turpan is 37 m high, the body of the tower is cylindroid in shape, built with bricks arranged in different symmetrical floral pattern. Look carefully at these pattern, you will realize the unique mixture of Chinese and Islamic features at these print on the minaret.
In total, there are 14 windows to provide lights and ventilation and a spiral stairs inside which brings you to the top. However, it is no longer open to tourists to climb up to the top now.
Uyghur Muslim Mosque
Next to the Minaret, there is a nice looking mosque – Uyghur Muslim Mosque. Uygur is one of the biggest ethnic group in Xinjiang, they are Muslims and regard themselves as culturally close to Central Asian nation. To me, Uygur people look very similar to Turkish.
Inside the Uygur mosque, you will find rough wooden piles were used. Floor is decorated with colorful carpets to enable the Uygur Muslim to pray at the floor on Friday.
Stele with inscriptions in Uyghur and Chinese
Final Thoughts :
The Emin Minaret is a blending Uyghur architecture and history with Islamic traditions. The tower is made of wood, mud and brick and also the tallest minaret in Xinjiang. I find it interesting to see the mixture of Chinese and Islamic architecture in China. Plenty of photo opportunities from all angles.
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- Silk Road China : My Bullet Train Experience to Turpan Xinjiang
- Karez Well
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- Where to stay – Maxirap le Grand Large Hotel at Turpan