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.