Gao chang Ancient City
The ancient city of Gaochang is located near the seat of the "Flaming Mountains" township, 46 kilometers south- east of the city of Turpan. The city walls are high and the crisscrossing streets and the city moat are still
visible. The city walls, which are basically intact, divide the city into three parts: the inner city, the outer city and the palace city. The 5.4 kilometer-long wall of the square outer city is 11.5 meters high and 12 meters
thick. The wall is built of tamped earth, with some sections repaired with adobe. There are two gates on each side of the outer city and the two on the west side with defence enclosures outside the gates are the best preserved.
The inner city, which is located in the center of the outer city, has a 3-kilometer long wall, most of the west and the east sections of which are well preserved. The rectangular palace city is in the northern part
of the city of Gaochang and it shares the north wall with the outer city and uses the north wall of the inner city as its south wall. There are still several 3 to 4 meters high earthen platforms in the palace city where
the court of Huigu Gaochang Kingdom was seated.In the north central part of the inner city, there is a high terrace on which stands a square pagoda built of adobe called "Khan's castle" which means "Imperial Palace".
Somewhat to its west there is a half-underground, two-story structure which was probably the ruins of a palace. In the southwestern part of the outer city there is a temple which is 130 meters long from east to west, 85
meters wide from south to north and covers an area of 10,000 square meters. The temple consists of an arched gate, courtyard, a lecture hall, a library of sutras, a mainhall and the monks' dormitory. Murals remaining in the main hall are still visible. The renowned Buddhist monk Xuanzang of the Tang dynasty is said to have lectured in the temple for more than one month in the year 628 on his way to India to obtain Buddhist scri-
ptures. In the vicinity of the temple there are also ruins of workshops and market sites. In the south-eastern part of the outer city there is a smaller temple, the ruins of the murals within which are better than those in the main hall.The construction of the city of Gaochang started in the first century BC. First called Gaochangbi, it was a key point on the ancient Silk Road, but after many changes in fortune over a period of 1,300 years, and under the jurisdictions of the Gaochang Prefecture, the Gaochang Kingdom
and Huozhou Prefecture, the city was burnt down in wars in the fourteenth century.It was classified as an important cultural unit protected by the state in 1961.