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Ancient Xinjiang in Silk Road

The areas ancient Silk Road passed by were those cities started from Chang'an (today’s Xian) in the east and went through Lanzhou, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang (in Gansu) and Turpan, Urumqi, Kashgar in Xinjiang, then further went to Central Asia, West Asia, South Asia and Africa, ended in the ancient Roman Empire of Europe. Among these cities, Xinjiang was the most mysterious place with 10 unexplained mysteries.

The ancient Xinjiang (now Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region) in the border area of northwest China covers about 1.66 million square km, accounting for one sixth of the Chinese territory.

Brief Facts of Ancient Xinjiang in the Silk Road

ancient village in Xinjiang

The territory of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China was the middle area of the ancient Silk Road. People usually describe Xinjiang as a saying goes, "Two basins lying between three mountain ranges." Two basins are Tarim Basin and Zhungar Basin, and three mountain ranges are Tianshan Mountains, Kunlun Mountains and Altai Mountain. This saying generalizes the basic geographic features of the vast Xinjiang Area.

In the very ancient times, thanks for its special geographic, the ancient Xinjiang Area had grown to be an area where many peoples chose to live and develop their cultures. Following the start of the Silk Road, the processes of exchanges and fusion between different races and ethnic groups had been sped up; and in addition, some new ethnic peoples or groups appeared in this area and survived by absorbing the cultures of the ancestors.

In ancient times, the multi-cultural environment with extremely unique regional cultural features was formed in Xinjiang since the ancient Silk Road had boosted economies of the kingdoms of the Western Regions. Even today, it’s not hard to imagine of the busy activities in the Xinjiang desert. However, Xinjiang had got its changes, the stem routes and direction tended to be similar as well as its roles in promoting the development of the ancient silk road.

In fact, the mysterious land of the ancient Xinjiang Area was like a great stage which had been a suitable platform for various people or groups to show their different cultures, and we may say that it is a great crucible. In the past 1500 years since the silk road was opened, a large amount of people had left their stories and cultures here.

Top 10 Unexplained Mysteries of Ancient Xinjiang

ancient Loulan city

No. 1 The Mystery of Ancient Loulan City

Ancient Loulan was located in today’s west coast of Luobubo Lake. Historically, it was a hub on the silk road, an important center of trade between China and the west. In some unknown time, this prosperous city disappeared mysteriously. The reappearance of Loulan city has led to the rush of explorers to make an expedition or find treasure.

Sun Tomb

No. 2 The Mystery of the Sun Tomb

In 1979, archaeologists discovered a mysterious tomb with a 3,000-year-old history in the area of the peacock river in Xinjiang.

The grave was built at the cost of a great deal of trees. Stepping into it, you can see a group of concentric circles with seven layers of poplar piles around and the wood diameter was even up to 30 centimeters. 

The whole graveyard looks like an ancient sun set on the desert. Hence, it is called "the sun tomb". What it means is still a mystery today.

Xinjiang big ear

No. 3 The Mystery of “Big Ear”

In a photo taken by NASA's earth resources satellite in 1972, lobubo resembled a man's ear. This ear had not only helix, earhole, but even earlobes. How did this earth ear form? Scientists have debated and debated.

Xinjiang mysterious death

No.4 The Mystery of Mysterious Deaths

Some people say that the Luobubo region in Xinjiang is a "devil's triangle" on the Asian continent, and the ancient silk road passed through it. Strange deaths have occurred from time to time. In 1995, for example, three farm workers went missing in a jeep on the journey to Luobubo. Later explorers found the bodies of two people at one place 17 km from Loulan, but the other one was still missing. The incredible thing was that their car was in good condition and their water and gasoline were both enough for them.

Xinjiang Niya Sites

No.5 The Mystery of Niya Sites

At the beginning of this century, a British, Stein, discovered an ancient city site on the Niya river in the great desert of Taklamakan, Xinjiang. When these cultural relics were brought back to England, western scholars were shocked. This is the Niya Sites which was called the "Pompeii" of the east.

It has been suggested that the Niya site discovered by Stein was Jingjue Country in the western regions recorded in Chinese history books. The country was once active on the silk road, known for its wealth and prosperity. Unfortunately, the rich country suddenly disappeared for some reasons. These unsolved mysteries have left historians puzzling over their solutions.

Sea Monster in Kanas Lake

No.6 The Mystery of Sea Monster in Kanas Lake

Kanas lake is a mountain lake located in the forest of Altai Mountains. Local herdsmen have long said that there is a giant "sea monster" in the lake, and the horses drinking water from the lake are often dragged into the water. The sea monster is called the Kanas sea monster. This mystery of the world is waiting to be solved.

Rock Painting in Xinjiang

No.7 The Mystery of Rock Painting

In the early archaeological culture, there is an important part. That is the remaining rock painting of Xinjiang. Most of these rock paintings were carved in black sandstone, granite and slate. And the colored rock paintings were mainly in caves. Some of them were even on sheer cliffs and steep mountains. No one knows who it was or how it was carved.

Stone Statues in Xinjiang

No.8 The Mystery of Stone Statues

In Xinjiang, people can often see stone statues standing on the vast grassland. These stone people were carved from whole blocks of rock. Who carved these stone people? Which ethnic tribal heritage do they belong to? There is still no consensus in the academic world, and it remains a mystery to be solved.

Crop Circles in Xinjiang

No.9 The Mystery of Crop Circle

Crop Circle refers to the geometric pattern produced by the flattening of crops through some unknown force (most of which is the work of humans) in wheat fields or other fields. This mystery is sometimes called "Crop Formation".

In the early 1980s, British people found strange circles in Hampshire and West. In Xinjiang, China, there have also been similar "crop circles" in recent years. For more than 30 years, the scientific community has been disputing how the circle has been formed.

Loulan Beauty

No.10 The Mystery of Mummies

Archaeologists have found a well-preserved mummy of a woman in an ancient tomb in Xinjiang area. She had a beautiful face with eyes closed and was known as "Loulan Beauty". When did her ancestors move in this area? Where did it come from? Where did they go afterwards? All of these remains puzzling.

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