Jiaohe City has no city wall or tree, and it was one of the most bustling cities along ancient Silk Road. It used to enjoy the same fame as Loulan Ancicent Kingdom.
Jiaohe City is the largest, most ancient, and best preserved raw soil city ruins in the world. It is also the only best preserved city ruins of Han Dynasty in China.
Jiaohe locates on an isolated island in the Yaerzi Valley which lies 1km west to Turpan city. The two rivers flowed on opposite sides of the island, and the rivers joined together on the two ends of city, make the city like a leaf. So it is called Jiaohe. The city is about 1700 meters long and 300 meters in its widest part, and covers an area of 380,000 square meters. Since it is surrounded by the 30 meters valley, which is easy to defend but hard to conquer, the city is crucial strategic military port in the ancient time.
The city ruins sleep under the ground for 2000+ years. Till 1993, it was discovered by archaeologists, and the archaeological excavation lasted for 8 years. Unlike the normal architecture which is built up ground, buildings in Jiaohe City was built by digging out earth.
splintering the cliff on the south, the south gate of the city was done. Entering the south gate, there is the main street which is 11 meters wide and 340 meters long. The main street lies 6-7 meters underground.
The whole city area is divided into 6 blocks. Government office block locates on the highest area in the city center, residential block with densely-spread houses locates in the east; market block is in the west; In the south there are living area of officers; and the north block are temples and tombs. The city has everything a city should have: streets and alleys, reasonable city layout, temples, residential area, market, government office, pagodas, burial area, city gate…
At present, Jiaohe City still have 1339 relatively well preserved house ruins, 106 caves, 5 pottery making sites, 4 city gates,9 shortcuts,52 temples, 316 wells, 2 markets, and 13 residential areas.
According to historical record, the peak time of Jiaohe City was in the 6th-7th century, during that period Jiaohe City covered much more vaster area than what we see today.
Of course, any cultural relics visiting need a good guide to explain its background information. What we share here is just a tip of the iceberg. If you want to know more about the Jiaohe City, just cover it in your Silk Road tour. What you see in person and learn from your guide will be much more shocking than we shared above.