Jiaohe Ancient City
Jiaohe Ancient City is an island-shaped plateau situated at Yar Town, 13 km west of Turpan City. It looks just like a small island in the middle of the Jiaohe River. The whole area of Jiaohe Ancient Town is 1650 meter long from the south to the north and the widest distance is about 300 meters from east to west. Judging from the constructive structure, Jiaohe Ancient Town is the largest, oldest and well preserved earth-structured city in the world. The old town has a long history of 2000-2300 years.
Jiaohe distinguished itself from other ancient cities owing to three features. First, it had only two city gates, the South and East Gates. The main south gate vanished long ago, leaving a huge breach. The east gate cut by the cliff was virtually non-existent. Second, the city faces cliffs on three sides, so there are no city walls commonly seen in other ancient cities. Third, all the buildings were dug from earth and wood was rarely used. Inside the city were residences for common people, residences for aristocrats, temples, and workshops.
Jiaohe was finally abandoned after its destruction during an invasion by the Mongols led by Genghis Khan in the 13th century. All the surface constructions in the ancient town have been destroyed nowadays only some remains of frescos survived inside. In recent years, an underground Buddhist Temple, a burying yard for nobles of Cheshi Kingdom, together with some earthen peals, ashes of Buddhists, and many other valuable relics has been unearthed.