Karez mean Well in Uyghur Language
Karez Well in Turpan is one of the famous construction projects in ancient China. The reason of building Karez Well in Turpan was because of the local natural geographical conditions. The word Karez means “well” in the local Uyghur language.
Why Built Karez Well in Turpan?
The temperature in Turpan can go as high as 80’C, annual rainfall is less than 16 mm. So the ancient people in Turpan built Karez to find water resources. When you enter the underground, you see the water is gushing out and the temperature is quite cool – like in air conditional room.
Karez Man Made Well
The Karez was man-made well, consisting of the vertical well, hidden channel, open channel and flood dam. Currently there are more than 1,000 Karez in Turpan with a total length of 5,000 km, accounting to 30% of the total water supply in Turpan.
Underground Great Wall
Ancient people risk their lives to dig and design a water system without using any sophisticated tool – they use bare feet and simple tools to dig underground tunnel. Turpan Karez, the Great Wall and the Grand Canal were 3 great works of ancient China. Spreading all over the Turpan Basin, the crisscrossing Karez look like an underground Great Wall, transport snow water from Tianshan into the Turpan oasis, nourishing orchards, farm and people living in this area.
Uyghur Ice Cream
You may like to try the Uyghur yogurt ice-cream while in Xinjiang, cost about RMB 5.00 ( less than USD 1).
Final Thoughts :
It is really ingenious for the ancient people to invent the irrigation system back 2000 years ago and turning parts of this hot desert in Turpan into lush greenery. Karez system bring life to Turpan. The museum is small but to see the irrigation system with your own eyes is pretty amazing. It is an educational tour for me.