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Home Xinjiang Travel Guide Xinjiang Attractions Tuyoq Valley: A Charming Uyghur Village in the Canyon

Tuyoq Valley: A Charming Uyghur Village in the Canyon

Tuyoq Valley (aka Tuyugou Valley) is a can’t-miss for your travel to Xinjiang if you want to experience the ancient Uyghur traditions and folk customs, time-honored Buddha caves, and majestic canyon scenery in one trip. Located in Gaochang District to the east of Turpan City in Xinjiang, the valley is famous for the Thousand Buddha Caves with numerous frescoes dating back from the 3rd to the 14th century, and the Tuyoq Village, one of Xinjiang’s oldest Uyghur settlements.

Fast Facts about Tuyoq Valley

  • Location: Tuyugou Township, Shanshan County, Turpan City, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
  • Opening Hours: 8:00- 21:00 (Apr. 21-Oct. 20); 10:00-18:30 (Oct. 21-Apr. 20)
  • Ticket Price: CNY 30 per person
  • Time Needed: 1 Day
  • Highlights:Thousand Buddha Caves, Tuyoq Grand Canyon, Tuyoq Village, Huojiamu Mazar
  • Suited to:Culture enthusiasts, history buffs, and nature lovers
Xinjiang Tuyugou Valley
Tuyugou Valley

What to See and Do in Tuyoq Valley

The main highlights of the Tuyoq Valley are Grand Canyon, Tuyugou Thousand Buddha Caves, Tuyugou Village, and the Huojiamu Mazar.

Tuyoq Grand Canyon

Spanning 8 kilometers in length and approximately 1 kilometer in width, the Tuyoq Grand Canyon slices through the Flaming Mountains from north to south and stands out for its unique canyon scenery. The canyon is about 47 kilometers from Turpan City, and about 13 Kilometers from Gaochang Ancient City, encompassing the highest peak of the Flaming Mountains. As the site of ancient Uyghur villages and Thousand Buddha Caves, the canyon attracts thousands of tourists around the world every year with its striking natural scenery and long-standing culture and history.

Tuyoq Thousand Buddha Caves

The Tuyoq Thousand Buddha Caves, also known as the “Tuyoq Grottoes,” are one of the earliest and largest Buddhist grottoes in Xinjiang. All the 94 Buddha caves here are carved into the cliffs at the Tuyugou Valley entrance and can date back to the era of the Sixteen Kingdoms. Among them, only 46 caves are numbered, 8 caves have precious murals retained, and many of the others have collapsed.

Cave No. 4 is one of the most outstanding caves thanks to its well-preserved murals and inscriptions of the Han Dynasty, dating back approximately 1700 years. In some caves, statues of Sakyamuni Buddha from the Tang Dynasty are found.

Tuyoq Village

Tuyoq Village, with its full name Tuyugou Mazha Village, is the oldest existing Uyghur village in Xinjiang, with a history of over 2600 years. Nestled in the depths of the grand canyon, the village is endowed with meticulously preserved Uyghur customs and architectural art and hence is praised as the “living fossil” of folk culture.

The most iconic feature here is its adobe ancient buildings which stand as shining examples of the region’s rich “loess culture.” Each adobe house is adorned with an artistic door. Some of the doors were installed during earlier times, which are generally simple, with natural wood color, and adorned with simple bas-reliefs and patterns. While the doors in later periods are usually colorful with various patterns. Regardless of the era of the doors, they are the most authentic expressions of this ancient village.

Huojiamu Mazar

Huojiamu Mazar, or the “Saint’s Tomb”, is an ancient Islamic site with a history of over 1300 years. It is the burial place of Yemunaiha, a disciple of Prophet Muhammad, who once propagated the teachings of Islam in the region with 5 other disciples. It is witness to the legacy and cultural exchange fostered by Islam in the area and still attracts Muslims from other parts of Xinjiang, Ningxia, Qinghai, etc. to come here to pay homage annually.

Mosque in Tuyugou Village

The Mosque in Tuyugou Village is a landmark of this area, being distinguished by four soaring green minarets. It is located at the heart of Tuyoq Village, serving as a beacon of faith and tradition and a symbol of the enduring cultural heritage of the village.

Xinjiang Tuyugou Mazha Village
Mosque in Tuyugou Village

Best Time to Visit

Tuyoq Valley nearby Turpan has a typical temperate continental arid climate, featuring hot summers and cold winters. This area experiences extreme temperature variations throughout the year. Spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) are the ideal seasons for traveling to Tuyoq Valley when the weather is pleasant and the scenery is at its most enchanting.

June to July are the hottest months here. You’d better avoid this period since the temperatures may soar above 40 degrees Celsius during this time.

Attractions Nearby Tuyoq Valley

Tuyugou Valley is located in the Turpan Basin, which is home to several other attractions that are worth exploring.

  • Ancient City of Gaochang: a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest ancient cities in China.
  • Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves: a series of caves that contain Buddhist art and murals dating back to the 5th century.
  • Karez System: an ancient and innovative underground irrigation system used in arid regions to bring water to the surface for agriculture and domestic use.

How to Get to 

You can fly to Urumqi from your city first, then, take a high-speed train to Shanshan North Station. It is about 70 kilometers from Shanshan to Tuyoq Valley, and regular buses are operating. Or you can take a high-speed train from Urumqi to Turpan North Station, and then take a bus to Tuyoq.

Please note that all the buses just can reach Toyoq Town, from there, you need to take a moterbike or walk for about 1 hour to reach Tuyoq Village.

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