No one can believe that there was a rich and varied community that once thrived deep in today's Taklamakan Desert some 1,600 years ago. Just like other places in China, it was then under the control of several officials appointed by the central government. There lived more than families with a population of more than 3,000 people. Sprawling over an area 20 km in circumference around what is now the dried bed of Niya River, however, the city eventually became buried in the desert sand and slipped in oblivion. The extinction of Niya has left archaeologists and scientists many questions to answer. It has also given the ruins of the ancient holy city a feeling of mystery. This may just show us why so many businessmen particularly request to explore Silk Road along their China business travel .
The Niya River winds through the southern Taklamakan Desert for about 210 km and its head waters are fed by melted snow from the towering the Kunlun Mount, known was Nanshan Mountain in ancient times. The river gradually dries up near a small Uygur village. The city's ruins were lost until the early of the 20th century, when the British explorer Sir Aurel Stein discovered the ruins and archaeologists have continued their exploration of the area ever since. Every year during summer vacation, many educational tours in China would come to Xinjiang and the time-weathered Niya site would be on schedule.
Eight tombs have been discovered at the northern part of the ruins. Some of them were already exposed when they were laid out in hollowed out logs or wooden trunks with an outer coffin. Dried out by the deserts heat and virtually undisturbed, the bodies, clothes and burial articles are in excellent condition. After searching on the website, you could find that China travel deals to Xinjiang are numerous, while Niya site discovery would be a must-have in these deals.
The details of the brocade show exceptional care. The edge of the silk hasn't been unraveled and the fabric still has its original luster. Even the green and yellow, colors which easily fade, are preserved. Pieces of brocade, much less in quantity and variety, were found in Niya in 1959, with three motifs: animal patterns, geo-metric designs and auspicious tokens, all of which have never been encountered before. Among the burial articles is a place of food with mutton, pears, and grapes. This variety serves as evidence of oasis agriculture and livestock raising. Since Xinjiang is an less-explored area in China, before heading there, asking for advice from your China tour operator are highly recommended.
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