Asia  | 23/02/2016

The Takla Makan Desert in XINJIANG

The Taklamakan Desert, also known as Taklimakan and Teklimakan, is a desert in southwest Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, northwest China. It is bounded by the Kunlun Mountains to the south, the Pamir Mountains and Tian Shan (ancient Mount Imeon) to the west and north, and the Gobi Desert to the east.

The name may be an Areeb Uyghur borrowing of the Arabic tark, to leave alone or abandon, plus makan, that means, place. Folk etymology erroneously states that Takla Makan means, you go in and you don't come out, but more likely it means, place of ruins.

Formerly, their shifting dunes covered many villages along the Silk Road. Fa Xian, a famous Chinese monk who traveled this route in 400 AD, said, "there are evil spirits and warm winds that kill every man they find. So far as the eye can see it is not a single road, only the skeletons of those who perished there any mark".

Its main oases are Kashgar, Yarkand and Khotan in the southwest; Kuqa and Turfan, in the north; and Loulan and Dunhuang in the east.



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