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Located 10 kilometers west of Turpan in China’s Xinjiang Province, the Jiaohe Ruins is an archaeological site which was an important stop on the Ancient Silk Road. It is the largest, oldest, and best preserved earthen city on earth. The city of Jiaohe was the capital of the Jushi Kingdom from 108-450BC. The city was the highest level military post in the West of China. The city was built on a large islet in the middle of a river. The location made it easy to defend the city and so no city wall was made. The river had high cliffs on either side, creating a natural defensive structure.

The site was partially excavated in the 1950’s. The city occupied an area of 220,000 square meters. The city had a central avenue which ran north and south and separated the city into three parts. The east and west of the city was the residential districts and the northern section was reserved for Buddhist sites. At the northern end of the central avenue is the well-preserved Jiaohe Temple which occupies an area of 5,000 square meters. After 2,000 years of prosperity, the city was abandoned in the 13th century, after it was invaded by Genghis Khan. The remains in the city date back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The buildings were dug down into the earth and the earth was used to make the walls.

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