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Ancient Astana Tombs

Ancient Astana Tombs Travel Guide

40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Turpan, 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the ancient city of Gaochang, this Tang-dynasty burial ground known as the "Underground Museum" attracts stream of archaeologists both at home and abroad. Astana means "capital" in Uigur and Karakhoja is the name of a legendary hero of the ancient Uigur Kingdom who expelled the evils by killing a vicious dragon.

The tombs range 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) from north to south and 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from east to west. Gravel boundaries separate the tombs by family. Generally speaking, husband and wife were buried together. In some cases, one man was accompanied by two or three women. The imperial dead of Gaochang and noble officials were buried here. However, curiously, the tomb of King Gaochang has been found nowhere in the tombs.

Currently three chambers are open to the public. It is not allowed to touch the mural inside the chambers for your safe keeping.


It is wise to go there by jeep. Also you can rent a car or go there by bus.

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