Tombs of Astana in Turpan Tour Guide:
While tombs as such might not be much fun, the Tombs of Astana or the Astana Graveyards are a different story. The 10 square kilometres complex is home to over 1000 tombs, but only 3 are open to the public and offer an insight into the culture of the living Gaochang citizens and their expectations in the afterlife.
Unlike Egyptian tombs, the Astana Tombs have no pyramids but they have a sloping passage that leads to the tombs underground. Inside, the tombs feature chambers with a ceiling height of about 7 feet high, decorated with murals of landscapes, flowers, humans and animals, including the guardian animals found outside Buddhist temples. One tomb even has two very old mummies within it
Ancient customs required that bodies were accompanied by earthen models of all that the person, while alive, required, including clothes, ornaments and accessories, food, money, musical instruments and such. A good example of this custom can be seen in these tombs, which though excavated, feature the same decorations. Another good example, on a much-larger scale is the Terracotta Army in Xian – a representation of an entire army to take care of the Emperor in his afterlife.