#118 Teaching at Taizhou Teachers College, China (Part 1,The Silk Road near Urumqi/Turpan, Xinjiang)


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Asia » China » Xinjiang » Turpan
August 28th 2009
Published: August 29th 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

The summer of 2009 will be the one I remember with special affection, for it took me to places that have long been in my imagination and in my dreams. These summer travels and experiences also remind me of the diversity and vastness of this amazing country called China. Much of the thanks for my unique summer adventure is offered to my wonderful College, Taizhou Teachers College, it's genteel an... Read Full Entry



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Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #4   Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #4
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #4

Standing at the main road leading into the ancient city, we can look toward the top of the plateau. The steep cliffs make it a natural defense, and no walls were needed.
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #5    Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #5
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #5

Most of the structures, including the spacious streets, are all excavated from original earth.
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #6     Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #6
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #6

The plateau is in the shape of a willow leaf, measuring 1,650 meters in length (some 5,500ft.), about 1,000 meters in width (some 3,000ft.), and 30 meters deep (almost 100ft.). Oh God, it looks like I am growing boobs in the summer heat???
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #7      Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #7
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #7

Much of the city is actually underground, especially the living quarters. This provides protection from the dreadful summer heat or the bitter cold of winter. All of this was naturally excavated from original earth.
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #8      Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #8
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #8

Not many visitors brave the intense summer heat to visit these fascinating ancient ruins. Those who do have the opportunity to have their picture taken with these ladies in their colorful traditional costumes. This is not an easy way to earn a few Yuan.
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #9       Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #9
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #9

During its boom days, the city of Jiaohe was an important city and stop-over for travelling merchants along the Silk Road.
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #10        Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #10
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #10

The ancient ruins stand quietly, reminding of a once prosperous past.
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #11         Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #11
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #11

The layout is divided into three districts: the eastern and western living districts and the northern temple district.
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #12          Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #12
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #12

This naturally fortified ancient city was eventually abandonded because of lack of water and wars. It is now a dying monument to the important days, when the Silk Road first opened communication between East and West.
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #13           Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins,  Photo #13
Ancient Jiaohe City Ruins, Photo #13

At the end of our visit to the ancient city ruins, we settle to refresh ourselves with a juicy watermelon.
THE FLAMING MOUNTAIN VISITTHE FLAMING MOUNTAIN VISIT
THE FLAMING MOUNTAIN VISIT

THE STONE MARKS AN AREA NEXT TO THE SILK ROAD , WHERE MERCHANTS AND MONKS AND TRAVELLERS PASSED THE "RED MOUNTAIN", SEEN IN THE BACKGROUND. THE MOUNTAIN STRETCHES SOME 100 KILOMETERS AND AT VARIOUS TIMES OF THE DAY GLOWS AS IF ON FIRE. HERE YOU KNOW THAT THE DESERT IS KING.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #1Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #1
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #1

In the center of the tourist area stands this giant thermometer, indicating the temperature of this afternoon. Please enlarge this photo and take a look at the red indicator line. During our visit it reached above 50 C.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #2Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #2
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #2

The entrance of the Flaming Mountain Tourist Site is a low structure, actually much below ground, and pleasantly cool, in stark contrast to outside temperatures. It is a museum, telling much of the history of centuries of travels along the Silk Road.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #3Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #3
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #3

We walked along the cool corridors of the Flaming Mountain Site Museum, to be greatly informed. The information was posted in English as well, a great help for me.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #4Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #4
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #4

Statues, Frescoes, Reliefs, and Paintings remember the explorers and adventurers from around the world, who have travelled the Silk Road since it opened thousands of years ago, and brought East and West ever closer.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #5Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #5
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #5

Once we pass through the underground museum, we exit into this stark desert scene, only marked by a few large stones. The Flaming Mountain stretches along the horizon. Since we visited during the high noon, the sun and shadows did not show us the fabled colors, for which the Mountain is remembered.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #6Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #6
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #6

Clear blue skies highlight the length of the Flaming Mountain on the horizon. Here, travelers and caravans of merchants have passed for milleniums, wondering where the next drop of water could be found to refresh. The water was another few miles away, near Turpan and the Grape Valley Oasis.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #7Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #7
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #7

Arthur was hoping for some shade behind the few memorial stones posing for the obligatory visitor's photo to this famous point. It is well remembered and researched in the famous novel: "Journey to the West". I urge you to read these wonderful adventures of the Monkey King and Xuanzang on their way to India and their return with Buddhist scriptures to China.
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #8Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #8
Flaming Mountain Site, Photo #8

We could not spend so much time under the desert heat, and on our return to our airconditioned car, we once again passed the thermometer. This time we looked at the temperature reading more askance, and we hurried for the cool of the car.
VIEWS AROUND THE CITY OF TURPANVIEWS AROUND THE CITY OF TURPAN
VIEWS AROUND THE CITY OF TURPAN

Though the center of the desert city is changing quickly and more modern structures are now appearing, especially some fancy hotels for the more thriving tourist trade, I still prefer the older more ancient sections of this tranquil Oasis town. Please remember that the next photos are taken from the car, and may not be of best quality.
The Oasis-City of Turpan, Photo #1The Oasis-City of Turpan, Photo #1
The Oasis-City of Turpan, Photo #1

The older streets of Turpan are lined with trees and provide much needed shade. They have not changed much over the centuries. In front of us, a truck ferries its cargo of freshly picked grapes to the market.



29th August 2009

Oh, I'm sooooo envious!
Hi Hans What a fabulous trip! Definitely on my "to do" list. Looking forward to the remaining blogs from this trip- and even more to catching up and listening to your stories in person next year. 2010 trip most likely second week in May. Will only be 4weeks, so not really enough time to catch up with everyone and travel to the NW, but we'll see! I've finally started back with my blogs. Edited & loaded up an additional 6 blogs worth of photos last weekend. Hoping to finish the trip this weekend, so I can free up some space on my computer. Then I can get on with publishing! Hugs to all, Suexx
29th August 2009

such a nice trip
i am here in Tsingtao, Shandong province. i think you must have heard of it .welcome to Qingdao, i would like to be the free guide for you
29th August 2009

Great summer!~
Hi Hans, I can tell you must have had a great summer! It's awesome! Looking forward to the other parts of your trip... See you very soon~
29th August 2009

Wonderful blog!
Hans, I feel that I was right there with you, enjoying the beautiful sights and the delicious food! (Although I don't know how polite I would have been when faced with the pig snout!) I'm learning a lot from your adventures- keep those blogs coming, and have a wonderful academic year! Hugs! Coky
29th August 2009

it's better than read any book
your travel is better than I thougt. what a wonderful place there and though you I know China better ,and know you better than ever!!!
31st August 2009

Hans! That trip sounds amazing! I don't really have time to travel anymore so I'm envious of you! Of course, in Korea you dont really need much time to go anywhere. The longest bus trip I can take is five hours! I miss you! I'm having a great time here and making lots of new friends. Have fun this semester!
2nd September 2009

MISS YOU
DEAR MY HANS, I AM VERY HAPPY THAT YOU HAVE TRAVLLED TO THE PLACE I WANTED TO GO, AND I TRED TO CONTACT YOU DURING THE SUMMER HOLIDAY.WHEN YOU SEE THESE WORDS ,PLEASE SEND ME AN E-MAIL TO MY ADDRESS MENTIONED ABOVE. YOURS HUGH
3rd September 2009

Hugh, your email address
Hello Hugh, thanks for your thoughts. Perhaps you will notice, that your email in incomplete, so I don't know how to reach you, I am sorry.
3rd September 2009

lucky!
Mr.Hans you are so lucky that you can see many beautiful scenes!! Wish you a good journey.
3rd September 2009

I miss you too!
Hans, you haven't reached me either. I am not sure if you received my emails?? I sent you a message through this blog and also an email to your MSN address. Julie
4th September 2009

nice trip
i am so happy that you have a great trip there ! welcome to henan , i will be your guide !
5th September 2009

hi
ohh,you have been to such a fantastic place! I guess you were very cool there during this hot summer.
12th September 2009

The flamming mountain looks so baren, no wonder the inferno extended 800 KMs and needed a magic fan to be extinguished. Thanks for such bright pictures and I look forward to your next entry.

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