Turpan Overview

Basic Information

  • Chinese Name: 吐鲁番
  • Location: Situated in the mid-east of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
  • Area: About 70,049 square kilometers
  • Population: 633,000
  • Language: Northern mandarin, Uygur language, Mandarin, etc.

Administrative Division

Turpan has direct jurisdiction over 1 district and 2 counties.

These areas are further divided into 33 rural areas, 171 administrative villages, 963 group of villagers and 65 communities. To know more about Turpan Administrative Divisions


Known as Turfan or Tulufan, Turpan is a prefecture-level city located in the east of Xinjiang, People's Republic of China. It borders Kumul to east, Hejing County, Heshuo County and Weili County of Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture in west and south. In north, it connects Qitai County, Jimsar County and Mori County of Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture. The city has a 240-mile width from north to south and a 300-mile length from east to west.

Turpan city is an olive-shape intermountain basin which is surrounded by mountains in all directions in eastern Tianshan Mountain. The basin starts at Allah valley in west and ends at the west entrance of Qijiaojin Valley in east, with a length of 245 miles. With a width of 75 miles, it reaches the foothills of Bogda Mountain (博格达山) in north and Kuludage Mountain (库鲁塔格山) in south. In the middle part, the Mountain of Flames (火焰山) and Bo’ertuowula Mountain (博尔托乌拉山) go through, dividing the city into northern and southern parts. The Aydingkol Lake, with 155 metres below sea level, is the lowest basin in China. 


Turpan has a harsh, drastic, cold desert climate, with very hot and long summers, and very cold and long winters. During the period from of March to October, the climate closely resembles a hot desert climate. Turpan belongs to unique warm temperate zone continental arid desert climate. Because of the location in the basin and the position which is surrounded by high mountains which brings quick temperature increasing and slow cooling, so that five major characteristics are formed: long days, high temperature, large temperature difference between day and night, little rainfall, and strong wind, so the city also got the name of “the state of fire” and “storeroom of wind”. To know more details about Turpan Climate.

The Best Time to Go

The period from August to November is the best time to visit Turpan because it is well-known for the high-quality fruit there. Thus, visitors could taste fine fruit in autumn time. Also, the hottest month, July, has been passed and the coldest time, January, hasn’t come, so months from August to November are recommended time to travel there.

Things to Do

As a popular tourist attraction, visitors could experience a lot of things in Turpan. First of all, the grapes of Turpan is quite famous in China, so you are recommended to taste grapes and visit the national 5-A-level Grape Valley which plant all sorts of grapes.

Then, if you appreciate the endless like desert, Turpan is a pleasant destination for you because the Kumtag Dessert (库木塔格沙漠) locates there. The desert covers 1,880 square kilometers and it is the nearest desert to a city in the world.

Third, travelers are suggested to visit Karez which is a very old type of horizontal water collecting structure for the development and utilization of groundwater. Together with the Great Wall and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, it is known as one of the China's ancient three projects. The total number of Karez in Turpan is more than 1,100 and its total length is about 5000 kilometers.

In addition to the mentioned spots, you could visit many other places there, such as the Mountain of Flames (火焰山), Tuyuq Valley (吐峪沟), the Ruins of Ancient city of Jiaohe (交河故城), etc.


Located in the eastern Tianshan intermountain basin, Turpan city is the transportation hub that connects the mainland, central Asia, as well as northern and southern Xinjiang. Lanxin Railway and Southern Xinjiang Railway meet at the city. Turpan Airport has been built functioning as the main alternate airport of Urumqi International Airport, forming a three-dimensional transportation network that combines railway, public transportation and airway together. To know more about Turpan Transportation.

History& Culture

Turpan is an important town of the ancient Silk Road. As early as the Neolithic Age, about sixty or seven thousand years ago, human activities were found there. At that time, people made a living by hunting and collecting. After entering to the slave society, the mode of production gradually gave priority to agriculture, and people started to settle in Turpan Basin. According to the Historical Records, the indigenous people of Turpan Basin areas are “Gushi” people. They ever set up five states here. Because of its location which is far away from the capital of the nation, it witnessed complex and unique history in different dynasties.

And the complicated history brought unique cultures as well. Turpan has four thousand-year cultural accumulation, and it was once one of the western political, economic and cultural centers. Cultural sites have been found more than 200 ones, and over 40,000 unearthed relics of the time from the prehistoric to modern times have been found. From the unearthed cultural relics, at least beyond 18 kinds of ancient writing and 25 languages have been used. A large number of cultural relics and historical facts prove that Turpan is the blend intersection of the four world cultural system including Chinese culture, Indian culture, Greek culture and Islamic culture, and 7 religions covering the Shamanism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Nestorianism, Manichaeism, and Islamism. To know more about Turpan Culture


Agriculture is developed in leading position in Turpan economy owing to the agreeable climate conditions there. The large temperature differences between the day and night contribute to the planting of vegetables and cotton, especially the grapes, so that China’s largest raisin producing area is built there. For the secondary industry, non-ferrous metal mining, coal mining, farm and sideline food processing industry and other industries also help the economic development of the city a lot. In addition, as a popular tourist destination for visitors from home and abroad, tourism drives the local economy forward.


There are diverse kinds of food in Turpan where gathers thick local Uyghur snacks and Moslem food. Besides, melons and fruits of Turpan are quite well-known and high-quality, especially the grapes which have hundreds of kinds. Visitors could eat fruit feast there. To know more about Turpan Dining.


Turpan is China's historical city and the key town of the Ancient Silk Road. Due to the special geographical position and long history, unique culture and landscape has formed there. Turpan is the lowest, driest place in China, which makes it the representative of the natural ecological environment in arid areas and oasis civilization. It is called "natural greenhouse". Turpan has a long history, magical beauty, and it has always been China's western region's political, economic and cultural center. Also, there exists the most abundant relics of the Silk Road.

According to the  area bureau of tourism, Turpan is the pearl of the Ancient Silk Road where the four cultural systems converge, gathering historical, cultural, natural, humane tourism resources. In 1998, Turpan got the title of "the China excellent tourism city". The Shanshan County of the city gained the title of the "great tourism county of the autonomous region” in 2009. At present, Turpan has a 5A-level scenic spot, four 4A-level scenic spots, and three 3A-level scenic spots. Turpan is not only the "hometown of tourism" but also "the home of melon and fruit ", which has been key attraction for tourists from home and abroad.


Chinese traditional festivals and events are widely celebrated almost in every place. In addition to the common traditional festival, each place has its own festivals and activities. In Turpan, the festival with local features is the Silk Road Grape Festival. To know more about Turpan Festivals