Astana Ancient Tombs

Situated 42 km southeast of Turpan (6 km to Gaochang), the graves are the cemetery of the ancient Gaochang residents. 456 tombs have been excavated since 1950's, and more than 10000 pieces of archaeological finds were discovered here, such as the books, documents, murals, embroidery, clay figurines and pottery, which became the priceless material for studying the history of Gaochang Kingdom.

The tomb complex is 5 km from east to west, and 2 km 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.

Only 3 of the tombs are open to tourists, and each of these approached by a short flight of steps which leads down to the burial chamber about 5-6m below ground level. One tomb contains portraits of the deceased painted on the walls, while another has paintings of birds. The third tomb holds two well preserved mummies.}

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