Jiayuguan watchtower
Jiayuguan watchtower

Archaeological Tours

NEW for 2019

Western China: Relics of the Silk Road

Over 2,000 years ago, merchants first began to use the great artery of the Silk Road for the flow of goods between China, the trading centers of Persia, the Middle East and Europe. Thus was born the legendary 4,000 mile trail that began its arduous journey through western China’s challenging terrain via the ‘caravan city’ oases of Dunhuang, Tupanm Urumqi, Hotan and Kashgar, to which increased wealth inevitably flowed.

Today’s western China remains far less developed than the east, from which it can still seem surprisingly remote, with languages and traditions of its own. It’s a land characterized by swathes of empty and breathtakingly beautiful terrain, with vistas ranging from infinite prairie pastures to formidable tracts like Xinjang’s Taklamakan desert, and the peaks of some of Asia’s highest mountains.

Our journey through these fascinating unfamiliar landscapes and cultures, offers the curious traveler insight into the region’s ancient civilizations on visits to haunting ancient ruins of sites like Jiaohe, the citadel of Gaochang, Buddhist and Confucian temples, Islamic mosques and cultural museums. All this is in contrast to a chance to enjoy Kashgar’s famously colorful Grand Sunday Bazaar, and Hotan’s night market with local Uyghur dancers.

What's included?

  •  Expert scholar & tour manager
  •  Accommodation
  •  Local transport & private transfer to/from airport and group hotel
  •  Entries & tips
  •  Flights (excluding airfare from the US)
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Four lectures from your expert scholar
  •  A name badge, luggage strap and bag tag
  •  A study guide, reading list, and other useful tour documentation compiled by your expert scholar and your Archaeological Tours team

Tour highlights:

  • Explore Bezeklik’s great Cave of 1,000 Buddhas – an amazing cave grotto complex dating from the 5th to the 14th centuries
  • Wander the Mogao Cliff cave chapels near Dunhuang, a UNESCO world Heritage Site dating back to AD 366
  • Visit Jiayuguan Fort, the western starting point of the Ming Great Wall and a key pass on the ancient Silk Road
  • Discover the archaeology among the historic ruins of Jiaohe and the citadel of Goachang near Turpan
  • View the iconic Terracotta Warriors, a collection of sculptures depicting the armies of Qn Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China

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