Wall painting from the Thousand Buddha Caves of Bezeklik In Cave No. 39 can be seen a group of mourners accompanied by thirteen Cave No. 39 disciples of Buddha. The north wall of Cave No. 37 shows a painting of a bodhisattva, dressed in Cave No. 37 red and with blue eyes and a long, straight nose. The explanatory inscriptions are almost all in Chinese and Uigur; this suggests that at this time the cultures of China and Asia Minor complemented and influenced one another. At the approach to the Bezeklik Caves is a mini leisure park where the Leisure park history of the Silk Road is vividly presented.
To Nanshan Pasture 75 km To Cemetery of Martyrs 3 km Turpan 184 km
Situation and Urumqi lies in a oasis in a large desert near the northern foothills of Mount
Communications Tianshan, in the north of the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, at 87°41 ‘E and 43°40’N. The town is on the rail route from Lianyungang (80 hours away by train) to Kazakhstan. There are direct air flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Canton, Xi’an and other large towns and cities. From Orumqi good roads lead to the furthest corners of the region, as well as to Tibet and Qinghai.
The name Urumqi comes frorh the Mongolian and means “Beautiful Pastures”. Various tribes grazed their cattle here more than two thousand years ago. In the 1 st c. a.d. the Han government sent troops to reclaim the land, but it was not until the Tang era (618-907) that the first urban settlement was formed. In 1758 the town was fortified and shortly after that it was given the name of Dihua. In 1884 Xinjiang was elevated to the status of province and Dihua made the seat of government. It was renamed Urumqi in 1954, and during the last forty years or so has developed into an industrial town, with coal and iron-ore mining.
The Red Mountain towers up amid green countryside to the north of Urumqi. The mountain itself is bleak and barren with its steep slopes covered in red rock. The peak is surmounted by a nine-storey pagoda, from where there is a beautiful view over the town. After 640, when Buddhism spread through Xinjiang, Red Mountain was for a long time a goal for pilgrims coming from far and wide. At that time there werea large number of monasteries on the mountain.
These lush green meadows, surrounded by dense pine forests, lie 75km/ 47 miles south of Urumqi in a valley of the Southern Mountain (Nanshan). Shepherds’ tents are dotted about everywhere, and several waterfalls can be seen in the distance.
The Heavenly Lake, some 5sq.km/2sq. miles in area, lies 102km/63 miles east of Urumqi, 1980m/6500ft up on Mount Bogdashan (5445m/17,870ft). The lake, its banks lined with pine-trees and surrounded by snow-capped peaks, is a most impressive sight. It is fed with meltwater from the encircling mountains. A ruler from the Zhou dynasty is said to have held a banquet here 3000 years ago in honour ofthe Mother of Heaven.
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