Kuqa (Kucha) ,called Kuche in Chinese, is located Central Western Part of Xinjiang, Eastern Part of Aksu prefecture, Middle of the Tianshan Mountain and Northern Margin of Tarim Basin. Total area is 14,528 square kilometers , Kucha is 750KM from Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The population of whole Kucha county is more than 400,000, mostly Uyghurs.
As an important stop at the ancient Silk Road , Kuqa County in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is an ancient Buddhist Kingdom. It is a small oasis county along the Silk Road, which runs along the north edge of the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim Basin and south of the Muzat River. It is located 400km to the west of Urumqi.
In ancient China, Kuqa was known as Qiuci Kingdom, which began at about 200BC, during the Western Han Period. As an oasis with advantageous location and abundant resources, Qiuci became a major trade, political and cultural hub, and later, an important Buddhist center in Turkestan. Influenced by the multiple cultures, Qiuci civilization was formed, and people are still able to have a glimpse of the ancient culture in Kuqa nowadays.
A great number of ancient city ruins, which have been disappearing for 10 centuries were found there with abundant cultural relics. There are many cultural sights, and Buddhist grottoes are the most famous, such as the Kizilgaha, Kumutura, Mazabeg and Simsem grottoes.
Kuqa is the perfect place to spend a night if you are on your way from Ürümqi to Kashgar. Apart from it’s amazing sightseeing opportunities it also has a very rich History. It was the home of a one of the most famous of all Chinese Buddhists, the fourth century linguist and scholar Kumarajiva. He played a big role in the promotion of Buddhism in China. It is said that there were two giant Buddha statues guarding the entrances of Kuqa in the 6th century. The name Kuqa is pronounced, as it is known to the Chinese, Kuche. It is a county in the Xinjiang region of the People’s Republic of China and was an essential stop on the ancient Silk Road, the 4000 mile that gets its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade that was carried out along its length.
Travelling and Accommodation
To get to Kuqa you will have to either take a plane, go by road or by rail lines to Kuqa. Flights to Kuqa are possible from Ürümqi and Korla. The bus station has routes connection Kuqa to all the surrounding cities but be prepared to travel between 12 and 15 hours any direction of Kuqa. The Kuqa Hotel, Lidu Hotel, International Hotel is the most convenient and central place to stay.Things to see in Kuqa
• The Kilzil Thousand Buddha caves are the one of the oldest caves dedicated to Buddhism in China
• The Subashi Ruins is all that’s left of a temple built in the first century. It reached its peak during the 6th to 8th centuries. Although only the ruins remain this temple witnessed the development of Buddhism in this land. • The Kuqa Great Mosque, constructed in the 1500’s is the second largest mosque in Xinjiang.
• The Taklimakan Desert is located farther from the ocean than almost any other place on earth and it is known as one of the world’s largest shifting sand deserts.
Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves are located on the cliffs of the Northern Bank of the Muzat River, Bay County. It is about 75km from Kcuha city. It is one of the earliest treasure troves of Buddhist art in China as well as one of the four largest cave systems in China.There are presently 236 coded caves among which 135 caves are well preserved and 80 caves have murals and sculptures with a total area of 10,000 square meters.
Kuqa Great Canyon was announced one of the 5 most beautiful canyons in China . if you visit this Canyon you can only not enjoy the view over the stunning bright colorful rock formations, but also quiet and refreshing hiking experience done in the shade of the gorge
It is located in the highest place of Heidun Bazaar in Kuqa County. It is the second largest mosque in Xinjiang after the Id Kah Mosque in Karshgar.
The main dome of the Grand Mosque over the entrance was built with 300,000 eggs and cement mixture. The great praying hall is supported by 88 pillars, embellished with carved designs and in many colors, a fine example of Uygur architecture. It can accommodate 1,000 prayers.
Subashi is a lost city located near Kucha in the Taklamakan Desert, on the ancient Silk Road, in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China. The city was partly excavated by the Japanese archaeologue Count Otani.
A sarira, a Buddhist relic box of the 6th-7th century, discovered in Subashi shows Central Asian men in long tunics, reminiscent of other friezes which have been called Tocharian.