My guide book calls Turpan the “Death Valley “ of China as it is below sea level and therefore very hot, very green and very fertile.

Many ancient cities dot the landscape and we took a donkey cart ride to see Gaochang, one of the more famous ones.  It was the Uyghur capital from 850 until 1250, and saw the transformation of these peoples from nomads to farmers.  The city burned down in the 14th century, but prior to that it was a major staging point on the Silk Road.

Some of the ruins have been reconstructed with brick for fortification, but it retains its eerie serenity of time standing still.


Gaochang 2 Gaochang Uyghur Dinner 1 Uyghur dinnerDinner was a  whole lamb roast with Uyghur entertainment.  Our leader Ichi Hsu was the master of ceremonies.  After a couple songs and dances by the performers (and a few glasses of  “pijiu” by the group) they had us all dancing!