Situated 45 km east of Turpan, Gaochang Ruins was the capital city of ancient Uygur kingdom. First built in the first century BC of Han Dynasty, the old city lasted for about 1400-1500 years until the year of 1283 the Uygur Kingdom was defeated by the nearby states, and had to give up their capital and moved away. Since then the city has been abandoned.
During its prime time, Gaochang became the major staging post on the Silk Road. Similar to the layout of Chang'an (present Xian)– capital of Tang Dynasty, it was divided into an outer city and inner city within the walls, and a palace and government compound. The walls of the city are clearly visible. They stood as much as 12 m thick, formed a rough square with a perimeter of 6km, and were surrounded by a moat. A large monastery in the south-western part of the city is in reasonable condition, with some of its rooms, corridors and doorways still preserved.
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