Ruins of Stone City
Last updated by chinatravel at 2014/10/29
The Stone City is situated north to the Tashgar Kurghan Tadzhik with an altitude of 3100 meters above sea levels. It is interesting to note that Tashgar Kurghan is the Turkish word for "a stone city". The Stone City is a renowned ancient town on the Silk Road of Xinjiang. During the Han Dynasty it was designated to be the capital city of Puli, which was among the 36 states in the western borders of ancient China. When the emperor of the Tang Dynasty consolidated all the countries in the west into one nation, it became the western defense headquarter since. It underwent a massive reconstruction and expansion in the early Yuan Dynasty. Under Emperor Guang Xu's reign during the Qing Dynasty, the Puli royal court was built and the ancient castle was refurbished and maintained.
The castle was situated on an elevated hillock with precipitous landscape. There were 1,300-meter long ramparts surrounding the township. The cascade of ramparts is irregularly laid out, some of which were broken while some were continuous. They were made from sand and blocks of rocks sitting on top of overlaying stone mounds. Piles of ripraps stacking in between intervals of the ramparts created a unique scene of the Stone City. The ramparts are 6-meter high and 1-to-3-meter wide. There used to be galleries at each of the four corners of the town, yet they had all been demolished throughout the years. Interestingly beds were made on top of stoves, perhaps an ancient design of a heating system. Southeast of the city there remain ruins of an ancient earthen Buddha Temple that was highly praised and treasured by Emperor Qianlong in reign of the Tang Dynasty. In recent years there have unearthed many ancient art and fashion collections, including coarse calico, silk woven things and Sanskrit script on leaves, which prevailed from 300 to 800 B.C. Based upon results from carbon tests and reports from archeological investigations, it is certain that this ancient city was at one time the capital of Kepantuo State in Tang Dynasty and where the Congling defense headquarter of western border resided, yet was later abandoned in the same Dynasty for unknown reasons. Close to the end of the Qing Dynasty, an oval shaped township named Puliting was built east to the Stone City, the architectures of which can still be identified vaguely today. South to the city by the riverside, a passage leading to Kashgar and Shache is also part of the famous "Silk Road".
Solo Adventure Tips:
How to Get There?
Regular buses from Kashi to Tash Kurghan are all transit vehicles, arriving at night and continue to go to Hongqilafu port and Susite in Pakistan the next day.
Recommendation time for a visit: a day
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