Not far from the city of Turpan, in the Yarnaz Valley, lies the ancient city of Jiaohe, whose history began 2,300 years ago. Thanks to its location, the city is very well preserved. Today it is one of the main attractions of Xinjiang. The city was for a long time one of the richest and most prosperous settlements in East Turkestan. In the early days of its history, Jiaohe was the capital of the Cheshi Kingdom, which, according to historical records, had 700 households, 6,500 inhabitants, and 865 soldiers. But neither the fortifications nor their wealth protected the inhabitants from the invasion of the Mongols in the 13th century.
The ancient city of Jiaohe is distinguished by three features of other ancient cities. At first, it had only two city gates, the south gate, and the east gate. Secondly, the city is cliff-sided on three sides, so that the city wall, which is common in other ancient cities, was not needed and never built. Third, all buildings were built of earth and wood was rarely used.
The city is a unique window into the past of an ancient military desert town. Jiaohe is the largest, oldest and best preserved earthy city in the world. It is 1,650 meters long and 300 meters wide with an area of 220,000 square meters. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on June 22, 2014.