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Astana- Karakhoja Ancient Tombs

Astana TombsAstana- Karakhoja Ancient Tombs are where the Gaochang ancestors are buried. The tombs locates 42 km (26miles) southeast of Turpan city and 6 km (3.7miles) from the Ancient City of Gaochang. It was the public cemetery of the ancient Gaochang residents, both aristocrats and commoners. It is a part of the Underground Museum of Turpan and the Living Archives of Gaochang.

Astana- Karakhoja Ancient Tombs is 5 km (3.1miles) from east to west, and 2 km (1.2miles) from north to south. Gravel boundaries separate the tombs by family. The paternal family burial order was strictly followed, similar to the system in the Hexi Corridor (today's Gansu Province), and even in central China. Those are mainly the tombs of the Han people while some of ethnic groups like the Cheshi, Turki, and Hun. From the tomb structure and placement, we can get that all nationalities enjoyed equality.

In Astana- Karakhoja Ancient Tombs, there is a slope of over 10 meters (32.8 feet) long leads down to the chamber, which is 2 meters (6.6 feet) high with a flat ceiling or a dome. In the back of the chamber place the deads on an earthen or wooden bed, who had wood in both hands and wore cotton, linen or silk clothes. The dead are around by something that is believed to be useful in another world like miniature pavilions, carts and horses, parades, musical instruments, chess sets, pens and ink, grapes, melons, dumplings and pancakes just name a few. Thanks to the arid climate, the relics are very well preserved. The discovered dumplings are the same as today's, and the stuffing is intact. Some chambers are decorated by murals of humans, animals, flowers, mountains, and rivers. Among these a painting of ladies playing chess indicating the happy life of aristocrats in the early Tang Dynasty (618-907). Totally there are more than ten thousand cultural relics excavated namely they are 2700 books, epitaphs, paintings, clay figurines, and pottery, wood, gold and stone wares, ancient coins, silk and cotton textiles.

What's more, mummies in Astana- Karakhoja Ancient Tombs compare favorably with Egyptian mummies in both quantity and quality, among these the well-known Gaochang General is 1.90 meters (6.2 feet) high with well-preserved beard hair and clothes. They provide precious specimens for anthropology, history, medicine, and ethnology.

 

Astana- Karakhoja Ancient Tombs Tour

Now, three chambers are opened to the public. Considering your own safety do not enter the unopened areas. And please leave your hand off from the mural inside the chambers.