During my business trip to urumqi, Xinjiang, China in May 2004 I did a side trip out to Turpan. This was an interesting drive through desert and mountains with large areas dedicated with wind turbines.
Turpan, also known as Turfan or Tulufan, is a prefecture-level city located in the east of Xinjiang, People’s Republic of China. It has an area of 70,049 square kilometres and a population of 632,000.
Turpan Grape Valley
Turpan has a grape growing valley which was a real surprise for me to see. Located 7 miles (11 km) to the northeast of Turpan, the Grape Valley stretches 5 miles (8 km) from north to south with a width of 1.2 miles (2 km). Being one of the valleys on the west side of the Flaming Mountain, it has totally different scenery from the Flaming Mountain. It is burning hot at Flaming Mounatin, but pleasantly cool in this green Grape Valley. This paradise of 543 acres (220 hectares) is covered with layer upon layer of grapes.
About 13 varieties of grapes such as Manaizi (mare nipple grape), Wuhebai (white seedless grape) and so on are cultivated. Every year over 300 tons of raisins are made here. Every single grape is crystal and juicy – some are as green as emerald; some as red as agate, some as small as pearls while others are like olives. Among all these grapes, Wuhebai is reputed as a ‘bright pearl’ with the sugar content as much as 20% to 24%. Containing sugar about 60%, the raisin made of the Wuhebai, is tasty and the treasure of Turpan.
The Flaming Mountain
The Flaming Mountains or Gaochang Mountains are barren, eroded, red sandstone hills in the Tian Shan of Xinjiang. They lie near the northern rim of the Taklamakan Desert and east of the city of Turpan.
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