Ancient city of Gaochang and the Tombs of Astana in Turpan Tour Guide:
A city lost in time, Gaochang brings you to a halt with the magnificence of its ruins that stand out in stark contrast to the surrounding desert landscape. For miles and miles, all you can see is mud structures created out of rammed mud. Though much of the city now lies in ruins, even they give a visitor a good inkling the might of Gaochang in its heyday, when it was a major hub of trade on the Silk Route and the capital of the region.
Walk the paths; explore the city ensconced within the outer city walls; venture into the inner city past the inner city walls and check out the site of the royal palace. Of the four-storied palace, only the 11.5 feet high cornerstones remain, but the orderly layout of this planned city can be discerned from the ruins.
Major highlights of your visit to the ruins of Gaochang will be the wall paintings on some of the walls and the expertly restored Buddhist Temple. You can even enjoy a donkey-ride through the ruins and imagine yourself to be one of the 30,000 citizens in the heyday of Gaochang.
For a deeper insight into the life and culture of Gaochang citizens, and especially its rulers, visit the underground Tombs of Astana, the final resting place of Gaochang Tang Dynasty royalty and other citizens, just 6 kilometres away from the Gaochang ruins.