Beacon Tower on the Silk Road
The beacon tower was the alarm system in ancient time. The coexistence of beacon tower and the Great Wall formed a complete military defence system. In addition, the beacon tower can exist independently and has the function of prewarning and defence. The beacon tower in Xinjiang is the best example.
The beacon towers are found everywhere in Tianshan, with the accordant trend of the middle road and north road of the Silk Road. It performs an important function of keeping the Silk Road clear. 51 beacon towers of different ages are still kept in Hami at present. Hami is the place that keeps the most beacon towers and makes them in the best state. There are the most beacon towers kept in Balikun County. There are four beacon towers built in the Tang Dynasty in Balikun County, that is, the Lakeshumu Beacon Tower in Hami Second Town, the Xiamabulake Beacon Tower in the Willow Spring, the Santanghu Beacon Tower in Balikun and the Qianshankuotu'erxiaona Beacon Tower in Yiwu. They have a history of more than 1,200 years. Most of the beacon towers kept are the buildings built in the Qing Dynasty. The highest distribution density of the beacon tower is on the line from the Balikun County west to Sa'erqiaoke. There is a beacon tower every 2 or 3 kilometers. The number of beacon tower reaches 13 in total. This is an unusual spectacle on the Silk Road.