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Subashi Ancient City

Listed under Ancient Settlements in Kucha, China.

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Subashi was once a glorious city spanning both sides of a river flowing down eastwards from the Tian Shan Mountains into the Taklimakan Desert of the Tarim Basin. This region later came under Chinese rule as part of the 'Western Regions', now known as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The trade route, traversing the small strip of land between desert and mountain is part of what we now know as the northern branch of the ancient Silk Road. The city was abandoned when the river flow became less regular.

The city played a key role in the introduction of Buddhism to China. There are many important Buddhist Grottoes nearby, including Kizil, Kumtura and A-ai. The monk Xuanzang recorded his stay in Subashi on his epic journey to India.

The ruins are extensive and it would take many hours to visit a representative selection of buildings. It is perhaps better to stick to one side of the river - unless of course you do have the time, interest and a vehicle. Most visitors opt for the southern side where there is a large stupa and the substantial walls of a monastery - as well as some empty grottoes.

Written by  Ian Ford.

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