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Basic data
Greater Region: Northwest China
Autonomous Region : Xinjiang
Status: District-free city
Subdivision: 1 municipality, 2 districts
Residents : 570,000
Area : 69,324 km²
Location of Turpan Prefecture within Xinjiang (China) .png
Uighur name
Arabic-Persian (Kona Yeziⱪ) : تۇرپان شەھىرى
Latin (Yengi Yeziⱪ) : Turpan Xəⱨiri
Cyrillic ( Soviet Union ): Турпан
official notation ( PRCh ): Turpan
Pronunciation in IPA : [ turpan ]
other spellings: Turfan
Chinese name
Abbreviation : 吐鲁番 市
Traditional characters : 吐魯番 市
Transcription in Pinyin : Tǔlǔfān Shì
Wade-Giles transcription : T'u-lu-fan

Turpan (in other languages ​​also: Turfan ) is a district-free city in the center of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and is located in the Turpan Depression . The administrative area has an area of ​​69,324 km² and approx. 570,000 inhabitants (2004). The seat of government is in the Gaochang district .

Administrative structure

The city of Turpan is made up of a municipality and two counties:

  • Gaochang district (高昌 区Gāochāng Qū ), 13,650 km², approx. 250,000 inhabitants (2004);
  • Piqan district (Shanshan 鄯善县Shànshàn Xiàn ), capital: Shanshan municipality (鄯善 镇), 39,548 km², approx. 210,000 inhabitants (2004);
  • Toksun district (托克逊 县Tuōkèxùn Xiàn ), capital: Toksun municipality (托克逊 镇), 16,126 km², approx. 110,000 inhabitants (2004).

Ethnic breakdown of the population of Turpan (2000)

The census in 2000 counted 550,731 inhabitants in Turpan (population density 7.94 inhabitants / km²).

Name of the people Residents proportion of
Uighurs 385,546 70.01%
Han 128,313 23.3%
Hui 35,140 6.38%
Kazakhs 321 0.06%
Tujia 274 0.05%
Manchu 254 0.04%
Mongols 158 0.03%
Do 154 0.03%
Tibetans 105 0.02%
Miao 98 0.02%
Zhuang 88 0.02%
Dongxiang 79 0.01%
Others 201 0.04%


In Turpan there is a continental desert climate ( BWk ) with extremely hot summers and cold winters, the annual precipitation is only 16 mm. Due to the location of the basin, there are often very strong winds. A centuries-old irrigation system brings water from the Tianshan Mountains.


Turpan lies in the valley of the same name in the eastern foothills of the Tianshan Mountains. The Turpan Depression extends approximately from 41 ° 12 'to 43 ° 40' north latitude and from 87 ° 16 'to 91 ° 55' east longitude. It lies at its deepest point, on the shores of Lake Aydingkol , 154.50 m below sea ​​level . This makes it one of the deepest depressions on earth , along with the area around the Dead Sea and the Sea of ​​Galilee and Lake Assal .


The ruins of Jiaohe and Gaochang , the ancient cave monastery Bäzäklik with wall paintings from the 9th century and the Flaming Mountains are considered to be sights of Turpan .


Jiaohe ruins

Some necropolises from the first millennium BC were found in the Turpan oasis. Discovered, including Aidingju and Subashi . The empire Jushi (車 師, Jūshī ), centered in Turpan , is first mentioned in Chinese sources shortly before the birth of Christ. 67 BC It was temporarily conquered by China until it came under the rule of the Xiongnu again in 10 AD , but it soon regained its independence. In the first centuries AD, the population of Turpan spoke mostly Tochar , but there were also Chinese and Sogdians . From the 5th to the 7th centuries Turpan was under the rule of the Kok-Turkish , in 640 it was occupied by China, which was replaced by the Tibetans in 790 . During this time the border between Tibetans and Uighurs ran here. In 843 Turpan became part of the Second Uighur Empire. During this time, in addition to Buddhism, which has ruled since the birth of Christ, Christianity and Manichaeism also spread in Turpan.

The 1st millennium AD, the heyday of the Silk Road , left clear archaeological traces in Turpan. The ancient capital was Chotscho , today's Gaochang (高昌, Gāochāng). Its urban area covers 2.3 km² and is bounded by a rectangular, up to 20 m high, double wall in places. Inside there were almost exclusively graves and religious buildings, but very few secular buildings. Numerous documents in different languages ​​originate from these, including in particular administrative texts from the time of the Tang dynasty , when Turpan was under Chinese rule. They allow valuable conclusions to be drawn about the economy and society. Another ancient city was today's Yarxoto, located on a high plateau surrounded by cliffs, probably the center of the Han period Jushi and later temporarily the capital of the Uighur Empire. Yarxoto was also mainly a temple city. There are also countless Buddhist temples in the vicinity of these two places, including some cave temples.

Turfan Fragments

Some of these paintings and other art treasures were transported to the Museum of Indian Art in Berlin by German research expeditions, the so-called Turfan expeditions , at the beginning of the 20th century , including the so-called Turfan fragments , a collection of over 40,000 manuscripts and manuscript fragments in 16 different languages and 26 different typefaces in different book forms , which the Berlin State Library is responsible for library indexing and conservation care today .

These documents deal with Buddhist as well as Christian Nestorian, Manichaean and secular content. The largest part of it make up the approx. 8,000 old Turkish , Buddhist texts.

In Turpan (and also Dunhuang ) a whole series of Sogdian Buddhist scriptures was found, but these only date from the Tang Dynasty (618–907) and are translations from Chinese. Earlier Sogdian Buddhist texts could not be found.

Christian texts are mainly in Syriac and Sogdian, but also as Syrian- Sogdian bilingual texts (bilingual texts), as well as some Turkish - Nestorian fragments.

Manichaean texts are preserved in Middle Persian , Parthian , Sogdian and Uighur ; the Sogdian and Uighur documents show a remarkable adaptation to Buddhism, but there are also indications of an opposing influence.

The Buddhist texts are largely preserved in fragments. There are several Indian Sanskrit texts from various schools of Mahayana and Hinayana , Uighur texts, most of which are translations from Sanskrit, Tocharian and, from the 9th century, increasingly from Chinese.

Many of the Uighur documents and fragments of Buddhist scriptures that have been edited so far include textbooks ( sutras ) and theological-philosophical works ( Abhidharma works). In contrast to the other Buddhist content, religious discipline ( Vinaya ) does not seem to have been translated, but rather taught and studied in Sanskrit . The Tocharian templates include two large works:

  • a 27-chapter play about Maitreya (the Buddha of the future) and the Maitrisimit (the encounter with Maitreya ) and
  • a collection of Buddhist stories ( Dasakarmapathadanamala ), as well
  • Comments
  • Catechisms
  • Jataka works (stories about pre-existences of the Buddha) have been handed down in Turkish block prints , even if only a few have survived.

See also


Individual evidence

  1. Cavalazzi, B., et al. "The Dallol Geothermal Area, Northern Afar, Ethiopia — An Exceptional Planetary Field Analog on Earth." Astrobiology 19.4 (2019): 553-578. doi : 10.1089 / ast.2018.1926 . PMC 6459281 (free full text).
  2. J. Paul: Zentralasien, p. 139

Web links

Commons : 吐鲁番 - تۇرپان  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 42 ° 58 '  N , 89 ° 11'  E