The 1,O00-Year-Old City of Urabo and Nearby Tombs About ten kilometers from Urumqi stands the ancient city of Urabo, the earliest and best-preserved ancient city to be discovered near the city of Urumqi. Dating back 1,000 years, the ancient town nestles against the Tianshan Mountains and commands the only way through White Poplar Vailey linking northern and southern Xinjiang. In the shape of a square, the ancient city of Urabo was surrounded by a rammed earth wall extending more than two kilometers.
Parts of the collapsed wall stand seven meters tall, and vestiges of the four square towers still remain at the four corners of the city today. The whole wall is patterned with many horse-head designs in
relief. There was an enclosure outside each of the four city gates for the defense of the city, while inside the city were three walls of rammed earth dividing the area into three inner cities the north-
eastern, northwestern and southern parts. Pieces of Tang and Song pottery were found all over the ancient city, as well as a few dating from the Yuan Dynasty. Nearby, farmers have picked up large numbers of ancient coppers in the city. These coins with a square hole in the center were issued at different times during the Qing Dynasty, fromEmperor Qianlong's reign to the time of Emperor Guangxu. All

these relics show that the ancient city of Urabo has survived the vicissitudes of successive dynasties for over a thousand years. Some say Urabo was the former important town of Luntai (Bugur) on the northern route of the Silk Road during the Tang Dynasty, while others dispute this claim. One thing is certain, however; it is the earliest and best-preserved ancient city ever discovered in the
area and is of great value to those who study the history and development of the city of Urumqi.
Ancient tombs discovered near Urabo can be traced back to 2,000 years ago, when the ancients inhabiting this area had a fairly well developed social economy during the time of the Warring
States, 1,000 years before the city of Urabo was built. Unfortunately the area is now the site of a reservoir, and so the remains of many ancient dwellings are now under water. However some ancient
graves left on high ground have provided information about the early settlers and their villages in the depression near the graves.Piecing together information from their excavations and finds, archaeologists believe the early inhabitants of the area were chiefly engaged in raising livestock, and growing food crops. Their household utensils were made of pottery, although gold earrings, bronze mirrors and small iron tools have also been unearthed, demonstrating that they ran gold, copper and iron smithies. Two bronze mirrors have been excavated, one intact and the other damaged. The shape of the intact one resembles that of ancient bronze mirrors discovered in graves in the Ili River valley to the far west, while the shape of the damaged mirror shows that it was a Han mirror brought from the Central Plains to the far east. From this we can see that there were economic and cultural contacts between Urumqi, Ili and Central China from the very earliest times.