Home » Silk Road Attractions » Turpan Attractions » Loulan Kingdom Ruins

Turpan Attractions

In 1980, a 3,800-year-old female mummy (Loulan Beauty) was firstly discovered in Loulan known as the Tarim mummies. This opens an insight into the Loulan culture to the world. Loulan was an ancient kingdom based around an important oasis city along the Silk Road already known in the 2nd century BCE on the north-eastern edge of the Lop Desert. The term Loulan is used to refer to the city located near Lop Nur as well as the kingdom.

The kingdom was renamed Shanshan after its king was assassinated by a Chinese envoy in 77 BCE, however the town at the northwestern corner of the brackish desert lake Lop Nur retained the name of Loulan. The kingdom included at various times settlements such as Niya, Charklik, Miran, and Qiemo. It was intermittently under Chinese control from the early Han Dynasty until its abandonment. The ruins of Loulan are near the now desiccated Lop Nur in the Bayin'gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang, and are now completely surrounded by desert.

Although Loulan vanished in sand, Loulan was on the main route from Dunhuang to Korla, where it joined the so-called "northern route", and was also connected by a route southwest to the kingdom's seat of government in the town of Wuni in the Charkhlik/Ruoqiang oasis, and from thence to Khotan and Yarkand.