Two gems in the desert

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May 4th 2016
Published: May 5th 2016
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This time, I want to describe two of the most stunning places I have visited along the long forgotten silk road in Xinjiang. I start with Jiaohe ruins (also known it as Yar city by the Uyghur people). I got up pretty early, in the morning, to visit this archaeological site from Turpan which was the city where I stayed during that period. I decided to cycle until there under the scorching sun. Along the way, I had to face the common problems that someone may have in bustling Asian towns especially with careless driver that I had to dodge for a good long stretch of the way and the huge amount of dust that generated with the cars and trucks running along the street.

I always feel enchanted when I pass through these streets full of stands, masses of people browsing around looking for some produce to bring home and others sitting in circle to play cards, smoking cigars, laughing and enjoying the moment. In a way these are the places to be and the places to experience more, in my view, to absorb the culture, history and beauty of certain unique towns like this one.

The way was long and strenuous but also rewarding because, just out of the city, the road became narrower as when you are about to enter in a countryside street and land began to appear with vegetation and that fantastic scent of nature you inhale while passing along it.

Once arrived at the spot,the queue was very that I took the chance to make a bit of stock buying some water and rehydrating myself after the long distance covered by bicycle to arrive here.

I was saying that this place was known as "Yar city" about two millennia ago. I had to walk uphill a little bit before getting to the actual archaeological site. It is incredibly well preserved to be that old and main reason is that, here, the precipitation is very low and this helped greatly the preservation of this ancient city.

The path was well made and easy to walk around it resembling like a labirinth. Scattered allover the place I could see marvellous Buddhist temples, Shrines, Tombs, Halls, Pagodas and Stupas. Some of them were better preserved and others, instead, were a little bit less preserved but all really beautiful and fascinating. About the size of this site is: one thousand seven hundred meters long and about three hundred meters wide. It is certainly a place to discover with its thousands years history and magnificent landscape scenary.

The second spot is more recent but as beautiful as the other one. It is called "Emin Minaret" and was constructed in the 17th century. The mosque was almost free of people and inside there was nothing to see. Around it there was a cemetery and a prayer room. The sightseeing, here, is of course the giant minaret which is like the bell tower of westerner churches. About Xinjiang province, what I like is this mix of cultures, religions and people of different background that live together and respecting each other.

Finally, I consider these two stupendous sites "Gems" of the desert and a must see for everyone coming up to here to explore and discover this magnificent land which is Xinjiang.

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