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Wonders of Xinjiang , China

Wonders of Xinjiang , China

Many mysteries remain unsolved in Xinjiang . They are fascinating and await exploration .

Faults and earthquakes . scientists at home and abroad are keenly interested in the great fault in Altun Mountain in southern Xinjang .It is a strike-slip fault almost 1000kilometers long and several hundred kilometers wide .such a fault should have caused many earthquakes, but very few quakes actually have been taken place in recent history ,why ? Many earthquakes have occurred in the north and in the  Altay Mountains in northern Xinjiang , so Xinjiang is not immune to them!

Another mystery : An earthquake of magnitude 8 hit Manas county in northern Xingjiang in 1906.but the intensity of its epicenter was low and it caused damaged to only a small area in comparison with other places that suffered a quake of this magnitude .and no fault whatever has been discovered in that area.

The wild horse . according to 1985 statistics ,there were a few more than 600 wild horses in zoos all over the world .all of them are the offspring of a few wild horses caught in the Junggar Basin in Xinjiang and in the southwestern border of Mongolia. In recent years Chinese zoologists have searched the ‘home of the wild horses” many times . Although finding some skulls and hides of the wild horse, they can not prove that there still wild around ,and it remains a riddle .

To prevent the offspring of the present captive wild horses from degenerating , China is carrying out an international plan to “return the wild horse to its home”

The Xinjiang tiger . this is one of the five tiger subspecies in China .the first specimen of the tiger was obtained near lake Bosten and it was formally named the Xinjiang tiger in 1916.records say that Xinjiang tigers roamed the valleys of the Tarim and Manas rivers .so far ,however ,nobody has ever seen this tiger ,let alone capture one. it is said that one herdsman saw a Xinjiang tiger near Argan in the lower reaches of the Tarim river .but it is only hearsay and can not be proved .are there Xinjiang tigers around ?there is no answer.

The huge red fish .Known as hucho taimen ,this fish has been discovered in lake Hanas near the Altay Mountains in northern Xinjiang .In july 1985 teachers and students of the biology department of  Xinjiagn university made an investigation on the lake .they saw the “huge red fish”and broke the news ,causing a sensation at home and abroad.

The investigators say the fish measures three to five meters long ,and the largest is more than ten meters ,the fish feeds on other fishes. there may be hundreds of them in the lake .a story goes that in the 1930s some people caught one huge red fish .they cut it up .and had to use 17 horses to carry its meat away .

Nevertheless , very few people have ever seen the huge red fish on the lake ,and no one can describe the fish in detail .

The snowman .It is said that some one laid eyes on a snowman near the Ulabo Reservoir , which was under construction in Xinjiang in the 1950s .then in the 1960s some armyman saw several snowman walking together in Kunlun Mountain .they shot them .but bullets did no harm to the sonwman ,who diappeared .in 1984the Urumqi evening paper reported that some persons have seen footprints of the snowman in Kunlun Mountain ,are there snowman in Xinjiang ?nobody really knows.

The shifting lake .World-renowned lake Lop Nur ,famous for its death like wilderness ,has no fixed position on the map .it is fed by many streams .for more than half a century geographers at home and abroad have argued about the exact position of the lake .hence the name “shifting lake” by a Swedish explorer in the early twentieth century .where is the lake ? why  is it moving about ?opinions still vary .

Ancient cities in the desert . During the western Han Dynasty Loulan state thrived near Lake Nur .its capital , Loulan city ,was a flourishing center of communication and trade on the silk road .after enjoying a prosperity lasting several centuries ,however ,the city disappeared entirely from historical records .

Around the dried riverbed of the Niya river lie ancient ruins with a circumference of twenty kilometers in the desert .Archeologists say they were the remains of the anciet state of Jingjue .when they first arrived there, there were flabbergasted at the ancient streets and thoroughfare ,houses and dried trees all still standing .inside the houses were various farm tools ,jars holding food and crop seeds ,and everything was in order .seeing all this ,some European explorers said that a sudden disaster had struck and the residents had had no time to move their things and escape .then desert sand buried the whole place ,only receding recently .but Chinese archeologists have found no human bones there .

There are ruins of other ancient sites in the desert in Xinjiang .nobody knows why all these cities and towns were abandoned or laid to waste .Chinese scientists have made comprehensive investigations and studies ,and have postulated the following (1)the desert encroached on these cities and towns ;(2)Marauding invaders killed them off ;(3)T he silk road was rerouted ,no longer passing by (4)Soil salinization made farming impossible ;(5) The river changed its course and the climate changed .but no one knows the real reason .

The “dragon city” In the fourth century Li Daoyuan of the northern Wei Dynasty wrote a book entitled water classic ,which says was a large “Dragon city” on the shores of Lake Lop Nur. As he relates, it was a small state built by an ancient minority people. Lop Nur flooded and submerged Dragon city ,and the state died out .the area around the lake has now dried up ,but ruins of the large walled city are nowhere to ber found .where are they ,and where did the residents move to ?  that remains a mystery .

The Mountain state . this was one of the thirty-six states of the western Han Dynasty .Nestled into the side of Kuruktag Mountain ,the state was situated on the only passage between Loulan state and Gushi state (present day Turpan) but it is a lost state :nobody has written about either its rise or its fall .it is said there are ruins of Mountain state along an ancient road leading from Lake Lop Nur  but nobody has found them .

Mausoleums of the kings of Gaochang State . there are nearly a thousand ancient tombs at the foot of Flaming mountain in Turpan  prefecture .most of them were built during the time of Gaochang state ,founded in the middle of the fifth century .the ancient capital of the state ,Gaochang city ,still stands intact at the foot of Flaming mountain today .four ancient families ruled Gaochang state successively .the reign of the Qu family was the longest ,lasting ten generations and 140 years ,until 640when Tang Dynasty conquered Gaochang state. now large tombs belongings to the relatives of the Gaochang kings have been discovered among the thousand graves near Flaming mountain .but not a single mausoleum of a king has so far been found. where are they ?archeologists are eager to know .

Ancient luntai city The fame of Luntai city of the Tang Dynasty has spread all over China because the celebrated Tang poet Cen Chen wrote about it in a poem .but nobody knows where it was .some people say it was in southern Xinjiang .others think it was somewhere near today’s Urumqi in northern Xinjiang .no ruins have been found .

3800-year-old corpse .At a delta in the lower reaches of the Konqi river Chinese archeologists have found an ancient graveyard on a piece of land seven meters above ground level. there they unearthed a well-preserved corpse of a middle-aged woman .her body ,skin and nails are all still in good condition .she had a lean face ,pointed nose ,sunken eye sockets ,and brown hair draped over her shoulders .her body was wrapped in a wooden blanket and her legs in a sheepskin .she wrote leather shoes and a felt hat with two goose feathers sticking out .after testing a fragment of the sheepskin around her with carbon dating techniques ,scientists decided it was around 3800years old .who was she ?which race and tribe did she belong to? Why race and tribe did she belong to ? why was she buried in this desolate and uninhabitated place ?

Painted pottery jars .In an ancient tomb near the Ulaobo reservoir on the southern outskirts of Urumqi archeologists have found a painted pottery jar with a loop ear .it is an exquisite handicraft with a short neck and bulging belly , 14.8 centimeters high ,9.5centimeters across at the mouth ,and 5.5 centimeters at the base .the whole jar is painted with dark red designs .on the neck are two rows  of  triangular patterns .two whorl designs cover the belly ,and the loop ear is decorated with a rhomboid form .the jar is a beautiful specimen of primitive art .similar jars have been unearthed in other ancient tombs in southern Mountains near Urumqi and in Hami far to east  .which ancient nationality made these jars ?what do the triangular and whorl patterns on the jar signify ?archeologists still have no idea .

Stone statues .many stone statues rest on the extensive grasslands in Xinjiang .they were carved from whole rocks ,and are vivid and lifelike .one stone man standing in a pasture in Wenquan county has a wide round face ,long bulgind eyes ,high cheekbones ,and a moustache .he wears a robe which buttons down the front and has a turn down collar .around his waist is a wide band hung with a dagger and a small bag .he has his left had on a long sword at his waist while his right hand holds a cup ready drink. He wears leather boots .his face has an expression of dignity , and represents the powerful warriors of the pastoral area .

Who sculptured all these statues ?  what  tribes and people left them behind ?there is still no consensus among archeologists .

Qu Bin’s stone tablet. Qu Bin was a member of the Qu family which governed the state of Gaochang .he was appointed a general . some scholars say the stone tablet he erected is the most important material for studying the history of Gaochang .basing on the tablet ,Huang wenbi wrote two works –annals of family of Gaochang and a table of the offical system of Gaochang .

Nevertheless , there are only rubbings of the stone tablet around .the stone tablet was unearthed in 1911in Turpan . later it was brought to Urumqi and put in a pavilion .then it disappeared ,and people can only speculate as to where it is today .