Ancient City of Jiaohe (Yarkhoto)

One of the world's architectural wonders hides in Yarnaz Valley, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) west of Turpan. Like a willow leaf, the ancient city of Jiaohe (Yarkhoto) with a history of 2300 years lies between two rivers on a loess plateau atop a cliff of over 30 meters (98.4feet). The largest, oldest and best-preserved earthen city in the world, Jiaohe is 1,650 meters (5,413 feet) by 300 meters (984 feet) at its widest; with an area of 220,000 square meters (2,368,168 square feet). It was included in the World Heritage List on June 22, 2014.
The ancient city was the capital of the former Cheshi State. An Indian proverb says, 'Intelligence is bound to exist where two rivers meet'. Jiaohe, meaning in Chinese where two rivers meet, is such a place. According to historical records it was home to 700 households, 6500 residents plus 865 soldiers.

Jiaohe distinguishes itself from other ancient cities owing to three features. First, it had only two city gates, the South and East Gates. The main South Gate vanished long ago, leaving a huge breach. The East Gate cut by the cliff was virtually non-existent. Second, the city faces cliffs on three sides, so there are no city walls commonly seen in other ancient cities. Third, all the buildings were dug from earth, and wood was rarely used.

Ancient City of Jiaohe, Turpan
Ancient City of Jiaohe, Turpan
Ruins of the Ancient Gate
Ruins of the Ancient Gate

The central avenue, 350-meters (1148.3-feet) long, runs north from South Gate, separating the city into three parts; namely, residences for common people, temples, and residences for aristocrats.

To the west of the avenue, low buildings with sparse small temples were residences for commoners, while the high ones in the east were for aristocrats and troops. At the end of the avenue stands a large well-preserved Buddhist temple, Jiaohe Temple, with an area of 5,000 square meters (53,824 square feet).
Tourists to Jiaohe
Tourists to Jiaohe
Relics in Jiaohe Ancient City
Relics in the Ancient City
The relics we see today featured Tang Dynasty ( 618-907) architectural style. Houses were dug downward from the earth, and as no house gates faced the streets, military defense was apparently priority.

At the end of the 8 Century, the city was tossed into the reigns of the Turpan, Hui, and Mongols. Residents fled from the destroyed city continuously until in the beginning of the 14 Century, the city was abandoned, as was its glory and prosperity of over 2000 years. Miraculously, owing to the arid climate and remote location, the ancient city of Jiaohe remains intact, leaving us a rare exemplar of an earthen castle.

Admission Fee: CNY 40
Opening Hours: 09:00 to 18:00

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- Last updated on Apr. 12, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Ancient City of Jiaohe (Yarkhoto)
Asked by silvia from INDONESIA | Feb. 27, 2019 20:31Reply
Are there any public transportation for traveling around turpan?
Answers (1)
Answered by Chester from UAE | Mar. 01, 2019 00:24

Yes, there are several public buses operated in this city.
Asked by simone from SWITZERLAND | Aug. 24, 2018 20:26Reply
hi! when i visit jiaohe, am i also able to see the two rivers between which it is positioned?
thank you!
Answers (1)
Answered by Chris from USA | Aug. 27, 2018 01:03

Not really, we cannot see the two rivers now.
Asked by Rita from PHILIPPINES | Jul. 27, 2012 08:38Reply
Is it difficult to get transportation back to the city from Jiahe?
How much time is needed to spend in Jiahe? Karez Well? Flaming Mountain? Is there bus or any transport connecting all these sites?
Answers (2)
Answered by Linda | Jul. 28, 2012 01:34

Hi, Rita. To be honest, it is really a bit difficult to get public transport for this trip. I suggest you join a local tour or hire a vehicle for your whole journey. 2 days may be enough for you to visit those places.
Answered by Rita from PHILIPPINES | Jul. 28, 2012 10:19

Thank you Linda, for the advise. Cheers!
Asked by Rita | Jul. 13, 2012 04:23Reply
if Flaming mountain is east of Turpan, then which side are Jiahe, Karez and railway station?
Answers (1)
Answered by Linda | Jul. 13, 2012 04:32

Jiaohe and Kares are both at the west of Turpan. Turpan Railway Station is located in Daheyan County, about 50 kilometers north away from the city center.
Asked by Edward from CHINA | Jul. 17, 2011 03:57Reply
How do you reach Jiaohe from Turpan?
Are there buses that leave from the city?

Thank you :)
Answers (1)
Answered by Sandy from CHINA | Jul. 17, 2011 04:56

It seems no direct bus. You can take bus from Turpan to 亚尔乡 and then take motorcycle, minibus or gharry to the site. I suggest you taking a taxi directly, the taxi fee should be no more than 30RMB I think.
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