An Ancient Oasis In China’s Remote Desert.
Turpan has long been the centre of a fertile oasis, with water provided by the karez canal system, and an important trade centre. It was historically located along the Silk Road. The name Turfan itself however was not used until the end of the Middle Ages – its use became widespread only in the post-Mongol period. The Uyghurs established a kingdom in the Turpan region with its capital Gaochang, known as the Uyghuria Idikut state or Kara-Khoja Kingdom that lasted from 856 to 1389 AD. They were Manichaean, but later converted to Buddhism and funded the construction of the cave temples in the Bezeklik Caves. The Uyghur state later became a vassal state of the Kara-Khitans, and subsequently as a vassal of the Mongol Empire. The last Idikut rulers left Turpan area in 1284 for Kumul, then Gansu, to seek the protection of the Yuan Dynasty in China, but local Uyghur Buddhist rulers still held power until the invasion by the Moghul Hizir Khoja in 1389. The conversion of the local Buddhist population to Islam was completed nevertheless only in the second half of the 15th century.
Turpan is an agricultural economy growing vegetables, cotton, and especially grapes being China’s largest raisin producing area. There is a steady increase in farming acreage devoted to grapes backed by strong local government support. The local government has coordinated improvements in raisin distribution, offered preferential loans for grape cultivation, and free management training to growers. Credit: Wikipedia.
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