The Kunlun Mountains are one of the longest mountain chains in Asia, extending more than 3,000 kilometres. In the broadest sense, the chain forms the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau south of the Tarim Basin; the exact definition of this range varies. An old source uses Kunlun to mean the mountain belt that runs across the center of China, that is, Kunlun in the narrow sense: Altyn Tagh along with the Qilian and Qin Mountains. A recent source has the Kunlun range forming most of the south side of the Tarim Basin and continuing east south of the Altyn Tagh. Sima Qian says that Emperor Wu of Han sent men to find the source of the Yellow River and gave the name Kunlun to the mountains at its source; the name seems to have originated as a semi-mythical location in the classical Chinese text Classic of Mountains and Seas. From the Pamirs of Tajikistan, it runs east along the border between Xinjiang and Tibet autonomous regions to the Sino-Tibetan ranges in Qinghai province, it stretches along the southern edge of what is now called the Tarim Basin, the infamous Takla Makan or "sand-buried houses" desert, the Gobi Desert.
A number of important rivers flow from it including the Karakash River and the Yurungkash River, which flow through the Khotan Oasis into the Taklamakan Desert. Altyn-Tagh or Altun Range is one of the chief northern ranges of the Kunlun, its northeastern extension Qilian Shan is another main northern range of the Kunlun. In the south main extension is the Min Shan. Bayan Har Mountains, a southern branch of the Kunlun Mountains, forms the watershed between the catchment basins of China's two longest rivers, the Yangtze River and the Yellow River; the highest mountain of the Kunlun Shan is the Kunlun Goddess in the Keriya area in western Kunlun Shan. Some authorities claim that the Kunlun extends further northwest-wards as far as Kongur Tagh and the famous Muztagh Ata, but these mountains are physically much more linked to the Pamir group. The Arka Tagh is in the center of the Kunlun Shan. In the eastern Kunlun Shan the highest peaks are Yuzhu Dradullungshong; the mountain range formed at the northern edges of the Cimmerian Plate during its collision, in the Late Triassic, with Siberia, which resulted in the closing of the Paleo-Tethys Ocean.
The range has few roads and in its 3,000 km length is crossed by only two. In the west, Highway 219 traverses the range en route from Yecheng, Xinjiang to Tibet. Further east, Highway 109 crosses between Golmud. Over 70 volcanic cones form the Kunlun Volcanic Group, they cones. As such, they are not counted among the world volcanic mountain peaks; the group, musters the heights of 5,808 metres above sea level. If they were considered volcanic mountains, they would constitute the highest volcano in Asia and China and second highest in the Eastern Hemisphere and one of Volcanic Seven Summits by elevation; the last known eruption in the volcanic group was on May 27, 1951. Kunlun is the name of a mythical mountain believed to be a Taoist paradise; the first to visit this paradise was, according to the legends, King Mu of the Zhou Dynasty. He discovered there the Jade Palace of the Yellow Emperor, the mythical originator of Chinese culture, met Hsi Wang Mu, the'Spirit Mother of the West' called the'Queen Mother of the West', the object of an ancient religious cult which reached its peak in the Han Dynasty, had her mythical abode in these mountains.
The Kunlun mountains are described as the location of the Shangri-La monastery in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by English writer James Hilton. The mountains are the site of the fictional city of K'un Lun in the Marvel Comics Iron Fist series and the TV show of the same name. Munro-Hay, Stuart Aksum. Edinburgh: University Press. 1991. ISBN 0-7486-0106-6. China Tibet Information Centre Chinaculture.org
The Yarkand River is a river in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of western China, originating in the Karakoram range and flowing into the Tarim River, with which it is sometimes identified. However, in modern times, the Yarkand river drains into the Shangyou Reservoir and exhausts its supply without reaching the Tarim river; the Yarkand River is 1097 km in length, with an average discharge of 210 m3/s. A part of the river valley is known to the Kyrgyz people as Raskam, the upper course of the river itself is called the Raskam River. Another name of the river is Zarafshan; the area was once claimed by the ruler of Hunza. The river originates from the Rimo Glacier in the Karakoram range in the south of the Kashgar Prefecture, it flows due north until reaching the foot of the Kunlun Mountains. It flows northwest where it receives waters from the Shaksgam River, which originates from the Rimo Glacier; the Shaksgam is known in its lower course as the Keleqing River. Yarkand River flows north, through the Bolor-Tagh mountains parallel to the Tashkurgan valley receiving the waters of the Tashkurgan River from the west.
After this, the river turns northeast and enters the Tarim Basin, forming a rich oasis that waters the Yarkant county. Continuing northeast, it receives the Kashgar River from the west draining into the Shangyou Reservoir. Though the river drained into the Tarim River, development along its course in recent decades has depleted its flow. During the period 1986 to 2000, it flowed into the Tarim River only once; the drainage area of Yarkand is 108,000 sq. km. It irrigates areas in Taxkorgan, Poskam, Yarkand and Bachu counties, it irrigates ten mission fields in the Agricultural Division. The ancient Silk Route into South Asia followed the Yarkand River valley. From Aksu, it went via Maral Bashi to the city of Yarkand. From Yarkand, the route crossed the Bolor-Tagh mountains through the river valleys of Yarkand and Tashkurgan to reach the town of Tashkurgan. From there, it crossed the Karakoram mountains through one of the western passes to reach Gilgit in northern Kashmir, it went on to Gandhara. The Indian merchants from Gandhara introduced the Kharosthi script into the Tarim Basin, the Buddhist monks followed in their wake, spreading Buddhism.
The Chinese Buddhist traveller Fa Xian is believed to have followed this route. With the Arab conquest of Khurasan in 651 AD, the main Silk route to western Asia was interrupted, the importance of the South Asian route increased. Gilgit as well as Baltistan find increased mention in the Chinese chronicles. China invaded Gilgit in 747 AD to prevent Tibetan influence, but the effects of the invasion appear to have been short-lived. It is possible that alternative trade routes developed after this time between Yarkand and Ladakh via the Karakash Valley; the region of Hunza adjoining Xinjiang, which contained the passes through the Karakoram range, began to split off from Gilgit as an independent state around 997, internecine wars with Gilgit as well as neighbouring Nagar became frequent. The rising importance of the Ladakh route is illustrated by the raids into Ladakh conducted by Mirza Abu Bakr Dughlat who took control of Kashgaria in 1465, his successor, Sultan Said Khan launched a proper invasion of Ladakh and Kashmir in 1532, led by his general Mirza Haidar Dughlat.
Harmatta, János, History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Volume II: The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 B. C. to A. D. 250, UNESCO Publishing, ISBN 978-92-3-102846-5 Litvinsky, B. A. History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Volume III: The crossroads of civilizations: A. D. 250 to 750, UNESCO Publishing, ISBN 978-92-3-103211-0 Dani, Ahmad Hasan, "The Western Himalayan States", in M. S. Asimov. D. 750 to the end of the fifteenth century — The historical and economic setting, UNESCO, pp. 215–225, ISBN 978-92-3-103467-1 Pirumshoev, H. S..
Leh is a town in the Leh district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, the seat of, in the Leh Palace, the former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace in Tibet - the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamshala, during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. Leh is at an altitude of 3,524 metres, is connected via National Highway 1 to Srinagar in the southwest and to Manali in the south via the Leh-Manali Highway. In 2010, Leh was damaged by the sudden floods caused by a cloud burst. Leh was an important stopover on trade routes along the Indus Valley between Tibet to the east, Kashmir to the west and between India and China for centuries; the main goods carried were salt, pashm or cashmere wool, charas or cannabis resin from the Tarim Basin, silk yarn and Banaras brocade. Although there are a few indications that the Chinese knew of a trade route through Ladakh to India as early as the Kushan period, by Tang dynasty, little is known of the history of the region before the formation of the kingdom towards the end of the 10th century by the Tibetan prince, Skyid lde nyima gon, a grandson of the anti-Buddhist Tibetan king, Langdarma.
He conquered Western Tibet although his army numbered only 300 men. Several towns and castles are said to have been founded by Nyima gon and he ordered the construction of the main sculptures at Shey. "In an inscription he says he had them made for the religious benefit of the Tsanpo, of all the people of Ngaris. This shows that in this generation Langdarma's opposition to Buddhism had disappeared." Shey, just 15 km east of modern Leh, was the ancient seat of the Ladakhi kings. During the reign of Delegs Namgyal, the Nawab of Kashmir, a province in the Mughal Empire, arranged for the Mongol army to leave Ladakh; as payment for assisting Delegs Namgyal in the Tibet-Ladakh-Mughal war of 1679–1684, the Nawab made a number of onerous demands. One of the least was to build a large Sunni Muslim mosque in Leh at the upper end of the bazaar in Leh, below the Leh Palace; the mosque reflects a mixture of Islamic and Tibetan architecture and can accommodate more than 500 people. This was not the first mosque in Leh.
Several trade routes have traditionally converged from all four directions. The most direct route was the one the modern highway follows from the Punjab via Mandi, the Kulu valley, over the Rohtang Pass, through Lahaul and on to the Indus Valley, down river to Leh; the route from Srinigar was the same as the road that today crosses the Zoji La to Kargil, up the Indus Valley to Leh. From Baltistan there were two difficult routes: the main on ran up the Shyok Valley from the Indus, over a pass and down the Hanu River to the Indus again below Khalsi; the other ran from Skardu straight up the Indus on to Leh. There were both the summer and winter routes from Leh to Yarkand via the Karakoram Pass and Xaidulla. There were a couple of possible routes from Leh to Lhasa; the first recorded royal residence in Ladakh, built at the top of the high Namgyal Peak overlooking the present palace and town, is the now-ruined fort and the gon-khang built by King Tashi Namgyal. Tashi Namgyal is known to have ruled during the final quarter of the 16th century CE.
The Namgyal, a temple, is the main Buddhist centre in Leh. There are some older walls of fortifications behind it which Francke reported used to be known as the "Dard Castle." If it was indeed built by Dards, it must pre-date the establishment of Tibetan rulers in Ladakh over a thousand years ago. Below this are the Chenresi monasteries which are of uncertain date; the royal palace, known as Leh Palace, was built by King Sengge Namgyal between the period when the Portuguese Jesuit priest, Francisco de Azevedo, visited Leh in 1631, made no mention of it, Sengge Namgyal's death in 1642. The Leh Palace is nine storeys high; the palace was abandoned. The royal family moved their premises south to their current home in Stok Palace on the southern bank of the Indus. "As has been mentioned, the original name of the town is not sLel, as it is now-a-days spelt, but sLes, which signifies an encampment of nomads. These nomads were in the habit of visiting the Leh valley at a time when it had begun to be irrigated by Dard colonisers.
Thus, the most ancient part of the ruins on the top of rNam-rgyal-rtse-mo hill at Leh are called'aBrog-pal-mkhar.... " Unlike other districts of the State, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council is in charge of governance in Leh. The'Deputy Commissioner, Leh' holds the power of'Chief Executive Officern LAHDC'; the Current Deputy Commissioner of Leh is Avny Lavasa, IAS. LAHDC was constituted in 1995; the conception of the council was conceived so as to provide a transparent development in the area. It has 4 nominated and 26 elected; the Chief Executive Councillo
Badakhshan is a historic region comprising parts of what is now northeastern Afghanistan, eastern Tajikistan, the Tashkurgan county in China. The name is retained in Badakhshan Province, one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan and is located in North-East Afghanistan. Much of historic Badakhshan lies within Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region located in the south-eastern part of the country; the music of Badakhshan is an important part of the region's cultural heritage. The name is derived from the Sasanian official title bēdaxš or badaxš, which may be from an earlier *pati-axša. Badakhshan has religious community. Tajiks and Pamiris are the majority while a tiny minority of Kyrgyzs and Uzbeks are found in their own villages. There are groups of speakers of several Pamir languages of the Eastern Iranian language group. During the 20th century within Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in Tajikistan the speakers of Pamir languages formed their own separate ethnic identity as Pamiris; the Pamiri people were not recognized as a separate ethnic group in Tajikistan, but in Tajikistan Pamiri movements and associations have been formed.
The main religions of Badakhshan are Sunni Islam. The people of this province have a rich cultural heritage and they have preserved unique ancient forms of music and dance. Nasir Khusraw propagated Ismailism. Badakhshan was an important trading center during antiquity. Lapis lazuli was traded from there as early as the second half of the 4th millennium BC. Badakhshan was an important region, its significance is its geo-economic role in trades of silk and ancient commodities transactions between the East and West. According to Marco Polo, Badashan/ Badakshan was a province where Balas ruby could be found under the mountain "Syghinan"; the region was ruled over by the mirs of Badakhshan. Sultan Muhammad of Badakhshan was the last of a series of kings who traced their descent to Alexander the Great, he was killed by Abu Sa'id Mirza the ruler of Timurid Empire and took possession of Badakhshan, which after his death fell to his son, Sultan Mahmud, who had three sons, Baysinghar Mirza, Ali Mirza and Khan Mirza.
When Mahmud died, Amir Khusroe Khan, one of his nobles, blinded Baysinghar Mirza, killed the second prince, ruled as usurper. He submitted to Mughal Emperor Babur in 1504 CE; when Babur took Kandahar in 1506 CE, from Shah Beg Arghun, he sent Khan Mirza as governor to Badakhshan. A son was born to Khan Mirza by the name of Mirza Sulaiman in 1514 CE. After the death of Khan Mirza, Badakhshan was governed for Babur by Prince Humayun, Sultan Wais Khan, Prince Hindal, lastly, by Mirza Sulaiman, who held Badakhshan till October 8, 1541, when he had to surrender himself and his son, Mirza Ibrahim, to Prince Kamran Mirza, they were released by Emperor Humayun in 1545, took again possession of Badakhshan. When Humayun had taken Kabul, he made war upon and defeated Mirza Sulaiman who once in possession of his country, had refused to submit. Bent on making conquests, he had to return, his son, Mirza Ibrahim, was killed in battle. When Akbar became Mughal Emperor, his stepbrother Mirza Muhammad Hakim's mother had been killed by Shah Abul Ma'ali.
Mirza Sulaiman went to Kabul, had Abul Ma'ali hanged. But Mirza Muhammad Hakim did not go on well with Mirza Sulaiman, who returned next year to Kabul with hostile intentions, he returned to Kabul in 1566, when Akbar's troops had left that country, but retreated on being promised tribute. Mirza Sulaiman's wife was Khurram Begum, of the Kipchak tribe, she had her husband so much in her power, that he did nothing without her advice. Her enemy was the widow of Prince Kamran Mirza. Mirza Sulaiman wanted to marry her; when Mirza Ibrahim fell in the war with Balkh, Khurram Begum wanted to send the Khanum to her father, Shah Muhammad of Kashgar. As soon as Shahrukh had grown up, his mother and some Badakhshi nobles excited him to rebel against his grandfather Mirza Sulaiman; this he did, again making peace. Khurram Begum died. Shahrukh took away those parts of Badakhshan which his father had held, found so many adherents, that Mirza Sulaiman, pretending to go on a pilgrimage to Makkah, left Badakhshan for Kabul, crossing the Indus went to India in 1575 CE.
Khan Jahan, governor of the Punjab, received orders from Emperor Akbar to invade Badakhshan, but was ordered to go to Bengal instead, as Mun'im Khan had died and Mirza Sulaiman did not care for the governorship of Bengal, which Akbar had offered him. Mirza Sulaiman went to Ismail II of Safavid Iran; when the death of that monarch deprived him of the assistance which he had just received, he went to Muzaffar Husain Mirza at Kandahar, t
China the People's Republic of China, is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering 9,600,000 square kilometers, it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. China emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since China has expanded, re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin established the first Chinese empire; the succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BC until 220 AD, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements.
The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty and Northern Song completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and Horn of Africa. Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution; the Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the Communist Party of China established the People's Republic of China, a unitary one-party sovereign state on Mainland China, while the Kuomintang-led government retreated to the island of Taiwan. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed. Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China's economy has been one of the world's fastest-growing with annual growth rates above 6 percent. According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $12.24 trillion by 2017. Since 2010, China has been the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP and since 2014, the largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity.
China is the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army and second-largest defense budget; the PRC is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as it replaced the ROC in 1971, as well as an active global partner of ASEAN Plus mechanism. China is a leading member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, WTO, APEC, BRICS, the BCIM, the G20. In recent times, scholars have argued that it will soon be a world superpower, rivaling the United States; the word "China" has been used in English since the 16th century. It is not a word used by the Chinese themselves, it has been traced through Portuguese and Persian back to the Sanskrit word Cīna, used in ancient India."China" appears in Richard Eden's 1555 translation of the 1516 journal of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa. Barbosa's usage was derived from Persian Chīn, in turn derived from Sanskrit Cīna.
Cīna was first used including the Mahābhārata and the Laws of Manu. In 1655, Martino Martini suggested that the word China is derived from the name of the Qin dynasty. Although this derivation is still given in various sources, it is complicated by the fact that the Sanskrit word appears in pre-Qin literature; the word may have referred to a state such as Yelang. The meaning transferred to China as a whole; the origin of the Sanskrit word is still a matter of debate, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The official name of the modern state is the "People's Republic of China"; the shorter form is "China" Zhōngguó, from zhōng and guó, a term which developed under the Western Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne. It was applied to the area around Luoyi during the Eastern Zhou and to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state under the Qing, it was used as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia people from perceived "barbarians". The name Zhongguo is translated as "Middle Kingdom" in English.
Archaeological evidence suggests that early hominids inhabited China between 2.24 million and 250,000 years ago. The hominid fossils of Peking Man, a Homo erectus who used fire, were discovered in a cave at Zhoukoudian near Beijing; the fossilized teeth of Homo sapiens have been discovered in Fuyan Cave in Hunan. Chinese proto-writing existed in Jiahu around 7000 BCE, Damaidi around 6000 BCE, Dadiwan from 5800–5400 BCE, Banpo dating from the 5th millennium BCE; some scholars have suggested. According to Chinese tradition, the first dynasty was the Xia, which emerged around 2100 BCE; the dynasty was considered mythical by historians until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age sites at Erlitou, Henan in 1959. It remains unclear whether these sites are the remains of the Xia dynasty or of another culture from the same period; the succeeding Shang dynasty is the earliest to be confirmed by contemporary records. The Shang ruled the plain of the Yellow River in eastern China from the 17th to the 11th century BCE.
Their oracle bone script
Yarkant County known as Shache County transliterated from Uyghur as Yakan County is a county in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, located on the southern rim of the Taklamakan desert in the Tarim Basin. It is one of 11 counties administered under Kashgar Prefecture; the county written "Yarkant" or "Yarkand" in English, was the seat of an ancient Buddhist kingdom on the southern branch of the Silk Road. The county sits at an altitude of 1,189 metres and as of 2003 had a population of 373,492; the fertile oasis is fed by the Yarkand River which flows north down from the Karakorum mountains and passes through Kunlun Mountains known as Congling mountains. The oasis now covers 3,210 square kilometres, but was far more extensive before a period of desiccation affected the region from the 3rd century CE onwards. Today, Yarkant is a predominantly Uyghur settlement; the irrigated oasis farmland produces cotton, corn and walnuts. Yak and sheep graze in the highlands. Mineral deposits include petroleum, natural gas, copper, bauxite and coal.
The territory of Yārkand is first mentioned in the Book of Han as "Shaju", related to the name of the Iranian Saka tribes. Descriptions in the Hou Hanshu contain insights into the complex political situation China faced in attempting to open up the "Silk Routes" to the West in the 1st century CE. According to the "Chapter on the Western Regions" in the Hou Hanshu: "Going west from the kingdom of Suoju, passing through the countries of Puli and Wulei, you arrive among the Da Yuezhi. To the east, it is 10,950 li from Luoyang; the Chanyu of the Xiongnu took advantage of the chaos caused by Wang Mang and invaded the Western Regions. Only Yan, the king of Suoju, more powerful than the others, did not consent to being annexed. During the time of Emperor Yuan, he was a hostage prince and grew up in the capital, he admired and loved the Middle Kingdom and extended the rules of Chinese administration to his own country. He ordered all his sons to respectfully serve the Han dynasty generation by generation, to never turn their backs on it.
Yan died in the fifth Tianfeng year. He was awarded the posthumous title of'Faithful and Martial King', his son, succeeded him on the throne. At the beginning of Emperor Guangwu's reign, Kang led the neighbouring kingdoms to resist the Xiongnu, he escorted, protected, more than a thousand people including the officers, the soldiers, the wife and children of the former Protector General. He sent a letter to Hexi to inquire about the activities of the Middle Kingdom, expressed his attachment to, admiration for, the Han dynasty. In the fifth Jianwu year the General-in-Chief of Hexi, Dou Rong, following Imperial instructions, bestowed on Kang the titles of: “King of Chinese Suoju, Performer of Heroic Deeds Who Cherishes Virtue Commandant-in-Chief of the Western Regions.” The fifty-five kingdoms were all made dependencies after that. In the ninth year Kang died, he was awarded the posthumous title of “Greatly Accomplished King.” His younger brother, succeeded him on the throne. Xian conquered the kingdoms of Jumi and Xiye.
He killed both their kings, installed two sons of his elder brother, Kang, as the kings of Jumi and Xiye. In the fourteenth year, together with An, the king of Shanshan, he sent envoys to the Imperial Palace to offer tribute. Following this, the Western Regions were in communication with China. All the kingdoms to the east of the Congling were dependent on Xian. In the seventeenth year, Xian again sent an envoy to present offerings, to ask that a Protector General be appointed; the Son of Heaven questioned the Excellency of Dou Rong, about this. He was of the opinion that Xian, his sons and brothers who had pledged to serve the Han were sincere. Therefore, it would be appropriate to give him higher rank to maintain security; the Emperor using the same envoy that Xian had sent to him, bestowed upon him the seal and ribbon of “Protector General of the Western Regions,” and gave him chariots, gold and embroideries."Pei Zun, the Administrator of Dunhuang, wrote saying that foreigners should not be allowed to employ such great authority and that these decrees would cause the kingdoms to despair.
An Imperial decree ordered that the seal and ribbons of “Protector General” be recovered, replaced with the seal and ribbon of “Great Han General.” Xian’s envoy refused to make the exchange, Zun took them by force. Xian became resentful. Furthermore, he falsely named himself “Great Protector General,” and sent letters to all the kingdoms, they all submitted to him, bestowed the title of Chanyu on him. Xian became arrogant making heavy demands for duties and taxes. Several times he attacked the other kingdoms. All the kingdoms were fearful. In the winter of the twenty-first year, eighteen kings, including the king of Nearer Jushi, Shanshan and others, sent their sons to enter the service of the Emperor and offered treasure; as a result, they were granted audience when they circulated weeping, prostrating with their foreheads to the ground, in the hope of
The Tarim Basin is an endorheic basin in northwest China occupying an area of about 1,020,000 km2. Located in China's Xinjiang region, it is sometimes used synonymously to refer the southern half of the province, or Nanjiang, as opposed to the northern half of the province known as Dzungaria or Beijiang, its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern boundary is the Kunlun Mountains on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The Taklamakan Desert dominates much of the basin; the historical Uyghur name for the Tarim Basin is Altishahr. Xinjiang consists of two main geographically and ethnically distinct regions with different historical names and the Tarim Basin, before Qing China unified them into one political entity called Xinjiang province in 1884. At the time of the Qing conquest in 1759, Dzungaria was inhabited by steppe dwelling, nomadic Tibetan Buddhist Dzungar people, while the Tarim Basin was inhabited by sedentary, oasis dwelling, Turkic speaking Muslim farmers, now known as the Uyghur people.
They were governed separately until 1884. North side: The Chinese called this the Tien Shan Nan Lu or Tien Shan South Road, as opposed to the Bei Lu north of the mountains. Along it runs the modern railroad while the middle Tarim River is about 100 km south. Kashgar was. Bachu or Miralbachi. Center: Most of the basin is occupied by the Taklamakan Desert, too dry for permanent habitation; the Yarkand and Aksu Rivers join to form the Tarim River which runs along the north side of the basin. It continued to Loulan, but some time after 330AD it turned southeast near Korla toward Charkilik and Loulan was abandoned; the Tarim ended at the now-dry Lop Nur. Eastward is the fabled Jade Gate. Beyond, Dunhuang with its ancient manuscripts and Anxi at the west end of the Gansu Corridor. South side: Kashgar; the modern road continues east to Tibet. There is no current road east across the Kumtag Desert to Dunhuang, but caravans somehow made the crossing through the Yangguan pass south of the Jade Gate. Roads and passes and caravan routes: The Southern Xinjiang Railway branches from the Lanxin Railway near Turpan, follows the north side of the basin to Kashgar and curves southeast to Khotan.
Roads:The main road from eastern China reaches Urumchi and continues as highway 314 along the north side to Kashgar. Highway 315 continues east to Tibet. There are four north-south roads across the desert. 218 runs from Charkilik to Korla along the former course of the Tarim forming an oval whose other end is Kashgar. The Tarim Desert Highway, a major engineering achievement, crosses the center from Niya to Luntai; the new Highway 217 follows the Khotan River from Khotan to near Aksu. A road follows the Yarkand River from Yarkand to Baqu. East of the Korla-Charkilik road travel continues to be difficult. Rivers coming south from the Tien Shan join the largest being the Aksu. Rivers flowing north from the Kunlun are named for the town or oasis they pass through. Most dry up in the desert, only the Hotan River reaching the Tarim in good years. An exception is the Qiemo River. Ruins in the desert imply. Caravans and passes: The original caravan route seems to have followed the south side. At the time of the Han Dynasty conquest it shifted to the center.
When the Tarim changed course about 330AD it shifted north to Hami. A minor route went north of the Tian Shan; when there was war on the Gansu Corridor trade entered the basin near Charkilik from the Qaidam Basin. The original route to India seems to have started near Yarkand and Kargilik, but it is now replaced by the Karakoram Highway south from Kashgar. To the west of Kashgar via the Irkeshtam border crossing is the Alay Valley, once the route to Persia. Northeast of Kashgar the Torugart pass leads to the Ferghana Valley. Near Uchturpan the Bedel Pass leads to the steppes. Somewhere near Aksu the difficult Muzart Pass led north to the Ili River basin. Near Korla was the Iron Gate Pass and now the railway north to Urumchi. From Turfan the easy Dabancheng pass leads to Urumchi; the route from Charkilik to the Qaidam Plateau was of some importance. North of the Mountains is Dzungaria with its central Gurbantünggüt Desert, Urumchi the capital and the Karamay oil fields; the Kulja territory is the upper basin of the Ili River and opens out onto the Kazakh steppe with several roads eastward.
The Dzungarian Gate was once a migration route and is now a road and rail crossing. Tacheng or Tarbaghatay is a road crossing and former trading post; the Tarim Basin is the result of an amalgamation between an ancient microcontinent and the growing Eurasian continent during the Carboniferous to Permian periods. At present, deformation around the margins of the basin is resul