Karahjo Tombs at Astana, Xinjing China
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Karahjo Tombs at Astana
The Karahjo Tombs at Astana are more than 40 miles away from the city Turphan. The tombs was the public tombs of the Gaochang citizens from Western Jing to Tang Dynasty (273~778A.D.), Tombs are located in north of the ancient city Gaochang. The area is called "underground museum", because over here a great deal of unearthed cultural relics were found.
They are the most famous tombs in Xinjiang Province. The area lies in north of the Astana village, and east of Hala and Zhuo, so that the complete name of the tombs is "Astana, Hala and Zhuo ancient tombs". The whole area covered about 10 square kilometers. The boundary of every family tomb is made from rock piles. Every tomb has its own way and rooms. It all start it from early Jing Dynasty (273A.D.) and for hundred of years people built their tombs here.
During the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th century, the tombs were robbed by some Russian, English, German, and Japanese. Great many treasures disappeared since then. The Relics Protection Unit of China began to unearth the tombs in 1959. More than 500 tombs were put in order and a great number of relics, that were used to accompany the dead, were found.
Among the relics, there are more than 3000 manuscripts, which are contracts, household registers, account books, litigation articles, the lunar year books, prescriptions, and letters. Besides the manuscripts, there are epitaphs, literature, drawings, silks, and satins and so on. The State Council of China has established a group to arrange the unearthed manuscripts. This group has already published some books about the manuscripts.
There are hundreds of ancient mummies in the tombs. After over a thousand-year sleeping underground, they are not rotten yet. The high altitude and the low temperature created an environment without any bacteria, and made the mummies become the valuable human body samples today.
Most of the written languages in the tombs are the Hans', also languages from Uygur, and other nationalities, and most of the dead is from Central China. Meanwhile, some others were Cheshi tribe, Xiongnu tribe, and some other nationalities. This underground museum has its high value for researchers and study of the society life, politics, economy and culture of the ancient country.