Aksu is not famous, but when it comes to Kuqa's small white apricots and bingtangxin apples, they are big names of Akesu's specialties with a juicy and sweet flavor that everyone knows them. Aksu is located in the central part of Xinjiang, sandwiched between Urumqi up north and Kashgar down south, at the southern foot of the Middle Tianshan Mountains and the northern edge of Tarim Basin. In the east, it is adjacent to Bayingolin MAR, and Ili Prefecture in the north. The total area is 132500 square kilometers.
Aksu belongs to the typical continental arid climate zone. It less rains and has sufficient sunshine and heat resources. The weather can be decoded why fruits of Akesu are so yummy. By a bite, the small white apricot will honestly tell you how happy you are when your mouth is full of apricot syrup.
Like most cities in Xinjiang, the big temperature differs between day and night.
Why visit Aksu
1. Marvelous natural scenery
Aksu means "clear flowing river" in Uyghur language. Due to the location at the south foot of Tianshan Mountains, melting snow brings a lot of water resources. Therefore, Aksu has large oases. The nearest National Wetland Park is an ideal place for leisure and smelling flowers and talking to birds. Among rivers and deserts, large or small Yadan landforms in rusty red look spectacular.
2. Strong historical background
We might as well say the history and culture of Xinjiang start from Qiuci culture and grottoes temple. Otherwise, there will be faults in Xinjiang history. Back in 109BC, King Qiuci presented the Buddhist Bath Jar to Emperor Liu Che of Han Dynasty, which was the earliest historical Buddhist event in the ancient kingdom of Kuqa. Since the 3rd Century, Buddhism was wildly spread in Kuqa, and eastward along the Silk Road to Dunhuang Grottoes. On the way of Buddhism spreading, grotto temples became temples of Buddhist Art combining with Chinese traditional culture and art.
In addition to Kizil Grottoes, one of China's "four famous caves," Akesu also has other grottoes. The ancient Qiuci witnessed the rise and fall of Buddhist culture. I wish we all act following the "Great Enlightenment" advocated by Buddhism.
1. Kuqa Grand Canyon National Geopark
More than 60 kilometers north of the city, it is surrounded by Tianshan Mountain, known as one of the Top Ten canyons in China. The Grand Canyons are well arranged. Sometimes they are wide and sometimes narrow, making the impression of "it is seen as a peak on the other side of the ridge". In terms of color, most of the rocks in the canyon are either red or yellow. In particular, when the setting sun casts light on the canyon layer by layer, the fantastic shape, and dreamlike color produce the gorgeous scenery of Kuqa Grand Canyon.
2. Kizil Grottoes
Its location is at Mingwutag Mountain Cliff Baicheng County, Qizir Town, stretching for several kilometers long. At present, there are 236 grottoes. Of them, more than 80 caves are preserved with wall paintings occupying 10000 square meters. It was excavated in the 3rd century and gradually stopped in the 8th-9th century. It is the largest group of grottoes.
The murals in Kizil Grottoes can be regarded as the first appearance of Buddhism spreading to China and with the ancient Qiuci style. The most special feature of Kizil Grottoes is the diamond story painting. Each diamond has a story. It is the image of Sakyamuni himself. It is a picture of real life. It is a picture of animals, etc. They are all valuable.
The colors of the murals in the cave are all-natural pigments. White is gypsum, and green is turquoise, black ones used to be dark red cinnabar, while blue ones are more expensive turquoise. It is said that they are all imported from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
3. Kuqa Mosque
It is the second-largest Mosque in Xinjiang, only 4km away from Kuqa new city. It was first built in the 15th century. The grand Mosque is 18.3 meters high, all of which are made of traditional Uighur green bricks. I am very fond of the green bricks. They look quite warm and inviting. The upright minaret is solemn. Inside, the pillars are carved in Islamic style. The carpets for disciples seem to tell Islamic creed. I have to say the traditional Islamic turquoise matches very well with red. They emphasize the charm of Mosque.
When to come
In the early summer, Kuqa's small white apricots are very sweet and watery. I can eat them as many as I want, and am secretly happy. Only Xinjiang has such a delicious fruit. In golden Autumn, Akesu's bingtangxin apples are the most crisp and sweet fruit to entertain visitors from far away. Therefore, the season of fruits is also the Time to travel.
Aksu connects North Urumqi to South Kashgar. It plays a very important role in transportation. Aksu Airport provides flights to Urumqi, Xi'an, Chongqi, Hangzhou, etc. Passengers also choose trains and coaches to travel. They are convenient and cheaper. Of course, direct railways to go North and South of Xinjiang are available.
I would like to recommend a few of hotels in Akesu as a reference. Please have a check.
Kuqa Hotel (five-star)
Kuqa Tianyuan International Hotel
The Map of Akesu you might need