Site of Black Water State and Tombs Complex of Han Dynasty

Last updated by meimeili at 2015/4/26

The site of the Black Water State and Tombs Complex of the Han Dynasty is about 15 kilometers from south to north and 10 kilometers from east to west. The Tombs Complex covers about 4 square kilometers of the total.

Most of them have been buried by the sands of the desert, while the ones that still remain were mostly revived before the liberation of China in the mid 1900’s. In 1956, the National Geological Prospect Team discovered and confirmed through research that there was an ancient city beneath the site, determined to be where the Huns had been living before the era of the Western Han Dynasty.

This location was then closed off and declared the national capital of the small Yueshi State. The state got its name “Black Water State” because the native people usually called the Hans "Black Huns." According to the Dushi General Book quoted in the old text, Medical Book of All States and Counties Under Heaven, this land belonged to the ancient city of Zhangye in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).
The records of Ganzhou Fu says that this place was called Gongbi Yi (Post) in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Xicheng Yi (West City Post) in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and Xiaoshahe Yi (Little Sand Water Post) in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
 
The local native people called it “Old Ganzhou” or “Black Water State.” The Raoxin Record Course holds documentation stating that in the Sui Dynasty (581-618), Han Shilong, who was appointed to defend the Black Water State, quartered here and built up 4 ramparts. These were later buried under windblown sand from the unforgiving desert only 1 day after they left. As well, there are 2 age-old castles on the southern and northern sides of the Han Tombs Complex. They are of the same structure with square planes.
 
On each the northern and southern sides of the Tombs Complex, there are ruins of an ancient castle. These 2 castles are identical in shape, having a square in surface. The castle in the south is 248 meters in length and 222 meters in width. There is a door in the middle of the east side of the castle, and an urn city was built on top of it. The door is 7 meters in width, and the whole property has a 4.6 meter thick wall and a 0.15 meter deep rammed earth level. Though all the buildings in the castle disappeared completely to the elements, bricks and ceramic chips as well as mills can still be found on the ground.
 
The castle in the north, which is 245 meters in length and 220 meters in width, is about 1 kilometer away from the south one. The door is on the north side, with a width of 4 meters. On the southwest side of the castle, there is an earth altar, square in shape with a length of 7.5 meters on each side. The north castle has already been covered by quicksand.
 
Unfortunately, the ruins of the Black Water State have been destroyed not only by wind and sand, but also by human beings. Therefore, it is important to take good care of the site on your visits.

Solo Adventure Tips:

Location:

How to Get There?
Take the special bus lines in Zhangye or take a package car

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Opening Hours:
08:30-20:00 in summer and autumn, 08:30-18:00 in winter and spring

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