Turpan, Xinjiang, China

Photos taken by David Stanley on a visit to Turpan, Xinjiang, in western China.
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The Turpan Regional Museum in Turpan, Xinjiang, China, showcases archaeological artefacts from the surrounding area including mummies from the Astana Tombs.

The Turpan Regional Museum in Turpan, Xinjiang, China, showcases archaeological artefacts from the surrounding area including mummies from the Astana Tombs.

A two-story tower still stands in the ruins of the 7th century city of Gaochang southeast of Turpan, Xinjiang, China. The Flaming Mountains provide a backdrop.

A two-story tower still stands in the ruins of the 7th century city of Gaochang southeast of Turpan, Xinjiang, China. The Flaming Mountains provide a backdrop.

The Central Avenue at the ruins of the ancient city of Jiaohe west of Turpan, Xinjiang, leads to the Grand Central Pagoda. This is the best preserved earthen archaeological site in China, dating from the 2nd to 14th centuries.

The Central Avenue at the ruins of the ancient city of Jiaohe west of Turpan, Xinjiang, leads to the Grand Central Pagoda. This is the best preserved earthen archaeological site in China, dating from the 2nd to 14th centuries.

The 4th century ruins of the Grand Buddhist Temple in the ancient city of Jiaohe west of Turpan, Xinjiang, China, include a grand hall, monk's houses, courtyard, pagoda base, and courtyard walls.

The 4th century ruins of the Grand Buddhist Temple in the ancient city of Jiaohe west of Turpan, Xinjiang, China, include a grand hall, monk's houses, courtyard, pagoda base, and courtyard walls.

The 5th century Vajrasana Pagoda surrounded by a forest of 100 smaller pagodas stands at the northwest end of the ancient city of Jiaohe west of Turpan, Xinjiang, China.

The 5th century Vajrasana Pagoda surrounded by a forest of 100 smaller pagodas stands at the northwest end of the ancient city of Jiaohe west of Turpan, Xinjiang, China.

The 67 painted caves at the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves east of Turpan, Xinjiang, China, date from the 4th to the 14th centuries.

The 67 painted caves at the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves east of Turpan, Xinjiang, China, date from the 4th to the 14th centuries.

The Flaming Mountains frame the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves in the Murtuk River Gorge just east of Turpan, Xinjiang, China.

The Flaming Mountains frame the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves in the Murtuk River Gorge just east of Turpan, Xinjiang, China.

A restored 7th century adobe Preaching Hall of the  Grand Buddhist Temple stands among the ruins of the ancient city of Gaochang southeast of Turpan, Xinjiang, China.

A restored 7th century adobe Preaching Hall of the Grand Buddhist Temple stands among the ruins of the ancient city of Gaochang southeast of Turpan, Xinjiang, China.

The 7th century city of Gaochang covers a wide area southeast of Turpan, Xinjiang, China. As recently as a century ago local farmers mined the ruins for soil and used the wall paintings as fertilizer.

The 7th century city of Gaochang covers a wide area southeast of Turpan, Xinjiang, China. As recently as a century ago local farmers mined the ruins for soil and used the wall paintings as fertilizer.

The 44-meter Emin Minaret (1777) in Turpan, Xinjiang, is the tallest minaret in China.

The 44-meter Emin Minaret (1777) in Turpan, Xinjiang, is the tallest minaret in China.

The Turpan Regional Museum contains a full size reproduction of paintings in Cave 44 at the Toyok Grottoes in the Tuyugou Valley east of Turpan, Xinjiang, China.

The Turpan Regional Museum contains a full size reproduction of paintings in Cave 44 at the Toyok Grottoes in the Tuyugou Valley east of Turpan, Xinjiang, China.

The Turpan Regional Museum in Turpan, Xinjiang, China, has an important palaeontology section. The skeleton on the left is of a Paraceratherium, the largest terrestrial mammal ever known and an early ancestor of the rhinoceros.

The Turpan Regional Museum in Turpan, Xinjiang, China, has an important palaeontology section. The skeleton on the left is of a Paraceratherium, the largest terrestrial mammal ever known and an early ancestor of the rhinoceros.

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