Ancient City of Gaochang (Kharakhoja)

Ancient City of Gaochang (Kharakhoja), Turpan

Ancient City of Gaochang (Kharakhoja)

Ancient City of Gaochang (Kharakhoja)
Historic Sites • Ancient Ruins
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3 within 6 miles
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

90 reviews
Very good

Beijing31 contributions
Oct 2011 • Family
These ruins are very reminiscent of a lunar landscape and the best part is that are few tourists (JiaoHe seems to be more popular). The place is huge, so hire one of the the donkey carts (for a small fee) to drive you to the central site. You can stop as many times as you like to explore any other parts of interest. Our kids loved running around the ruins and discovering all the nooks and crannies. It's very hot (even in October) so hats and plenty of water are a must. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Written November 28, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Timothy D
Suzhou, China648 contributions
Oct 2019 • Family
Maybe because we were told this site was much less impressive than the Jiaohe ruins, we had low expectations but were all very impressed by its grandeur. In my group, we all found it more spectacular than Jiaohe as we felt we could imagine life in the past when the city must have been a thriving place on the Silk Road. We opted to not take the rather expensive bus and walk the 6 km from the entrance to the ruins and around and back again with a nine-year-old child. If you have any mobility issues, of course take the bus, but if the weather is not too hot and you feel like stretching your legs, I recommend walking the full distance as you can stop and start wherever and whenever you want.
Written October 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Barcelona, Spain100 contributions
Oct 2018 • Family
This place is huge and it is definitely advised to join the buggy tour for RMB 30 per head. Including the buggy the price per person is RMB 100 which is a bit high for what you see. There are lots of ruins but unfortunately no proper explanations of the places so you cannot imagine how this city looked like in the past. Still a nice place to visit
Written October 9, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Andrew M
7,160 contributions
Jul 2019
Gaochang is a little difficult to reach, and I would advise booking a tour or hiring a driver. Your vehicle will be stopped at many checkpoints in Turpan, so having a local guide is almost a necessity. There is a statue of the famous monk Xuanzang who gave lectures in city temple before departing for India in 629. The journey of Xuanzang inspired many books and movies which are still famous today e.g. Journey to the West, The Silk Road Journey. The Gaochang ruins are the largest of the ancient cities in Xinjiang.

It costs about RMB100 for entry and the electrical cart tour. It is a good plan to have water before visiting the site, as the prices here are very high, but water is available in the gift shop area which you pass through prior to boarding the cart. We visited in summer when the electrical cart was an absolute necessity. It was far too hot to walk the ruins, and although the cart only stopped three times, it was slow enough for photos to be taken. The guide spoke constantly in mandarin throughout the tour, and didn't understand any english. I would suggest that you do some research on the city prior to visiting to really appreciate it.

There are driving and walking paths throughout the city. The main areas are the southeast gates and city walls, building # 2 and #3 ruins, southeast minor temple, khan fort, northern remains, west gate and southwest buddhist temple. We thought that the remains were extensive and require a few hours for viewing, but the cart tour took approximately 30-40 minutes. It was too hot to walk, so we decided to stay with the cart. We were most impressed with the Khan Fort, which dated back to 445 and the north remains, where two blue minarets of a modern mosque can be seen just outside the ancient city walls.

On the return of the electric cart, we had time to stroll around the sculptures of important historical persons of Goachang and Turpan. We strongly advise that you take time to read the information at the base of the many sculptures, as it will provide a better understanding of the importance of Goachang. The gift shop had quite a wide selection of souvenirs, and most importantly cold beverages. I would advise that you combine this visit with a walk through the ancient tombs of astana, which is a short drive from this location.
Written August 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lorah Z
Chaweng, Thailand133 contributions
Mar 2018 • Solo
Built in the 1st century BC, this site was an important resting ground / transportation hub along the silk road. During the Han Dynasty, the city was used as a garrison for Chinese soldiers and you could find the general's larger & more elaborate dwelling in the city. Buddhism was also practiced here, shown through the temples throughout the city. Compared to the ancient city of Jiao He, you could find here more advanced building materials (i.e. bricks) brought by the chinese.

To maximise your experience, I recommend engaging a guide. The city is huge consisting an outer city wall and an inner city wall. At the entrance, you could jump onto a car which will take you to all the key spots. Nevertheless, make sure you bring lots of drinking water.
Written April 13, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Seattle, WA92 contributions
Oct 2017 • Couples
We visited these ruins a couple weeks after the Chinese national holiday and the day after we saw Jiaohe. Compared to Jioahe, there is a lot more destruction, and more imagination required. There is a lot of open space inside the city walls, but the scale and surrounding scenery are impressive.

We walked from the visitor center to the south gate, where you enter the ruins. The path/road is 5 km around the inside of the site, making it ideal for a bicycle. We rented 3 for 20 RMB each at the south gate. One of the attendants spoke surprisingly good English.

Biking around the site was delightful and gave us the flexibility to stop when and where we wanted (unlike the minibus). We also had the ruins largely to ourselves, unlike Jiaohe. Nonetheless, Jiaohe is the better site if you only have time for one.
Written October 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sydney, Australia1,870 contributions
Sep 2017 • Solo
It had three sets of walls still standing as well as many buildings. It was too big to convey in single photos. It was so immense that they provided a little shuttle bus to take us to the ruins and around it with stops at various interesting intervals. In the heat this was appreciated. It was built in the 1st Century BC along the silk route. It was destroyed during wars in the 14th century. Its ruins remain evocatively and slowly eroding.
Written October 10, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Canada2,158 contributions
May 2017 • Friends
Being in the Ancient City of Gaochang is something that all Chinese history lovers will get a huge kick out of or anyone who can appreciate architecture that has stood up for many centuries. Coming from a country that is just under 500years old, we don’t have these types of places in Canada so even though this is young compared to other sites in the region it is impressive due to its sheer size, the fact that it is mud structures and that it hasn’t yet been invaded by hordes of tourists but that will come soon enough I am sure. Wonderful place to visit, lots of walking or you can pay to be driven around which is good for those with mobility issues.
Written June 2, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ottawa, Canada77 contributions
Mar 2017 • Solo
I have been to archaeological sites all over the world, and this one completely blew me away. The sheer size of the site is like nothing I have ever seen before. Also the level of preservation is very impressive considering the age of the site and the mud brick architecture.
Written March 28, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jackson, WY71 contributions
Sep 2016 • Family
This and Jiaohe, as I noted in that review, are significant ancient city sites on the old Silk Road. Serving for several dynasties as the Uigher kingdom capital, Goachang was razed unfortunately by the Mongols in the 1400's and never brought back. A large portion of it was also subsequently bulldozed by Mao for use as agricultural land. It was a huge city, and again, after we left the gaggles of Chinese tourists who come to take one or two pictures and then go shopping, walking around the ruins was quiet and, to my mind, very interesting.
Written October 10, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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