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Flaming Mountains

The Flaming Mountains in Turpan valley are famous since ancient times. Flaming mountains (local name is Kyzyltag, means Red Mountain) are a mountain ridge, with lengths of 100 km from west to east.

These mountains were formed 50 million years ago. During those million years, the volcanoes were vomiting lava and trickling down the mountains, which made a lot of ravines down the mountainsides. Thanks to that phenomenon, at sunset, the sun makes the cracked red mountains look like huge bodies of flame. The color of the mountains changes according to the intensity of sunshine and air temperature. It makes the mountain look like it is really alive and can change its appearance.

The Flaming Mountains were well known by traders on the Silk Road while it was crossing Turpan. Travelers’ fables and local tales created different legends. One of the most famous Uygur legends tells about the dragon that lived in that mountains, who kidnapped children from villages and ate them. A brave warrior came to these mountains and was fighting with the dragon for 3 days. He wounded the dragon 8 times and killed it. The body of the bleeding dead dragon became a mountain ridge, 8 wounds became 8 valleys, and the Grape Valley is the most scenic.

Flaming mountains are famous for the Chinese classic novel “Journey to the West” written in XVI century also. One of the episodes tells a story how the monkey king, Sun Wukong, travelled down the Silk Road with a monk, named Xuan Jiang, and they asked a local goddess 3 times to give them a magic fan to cross the Flaming Mountains.  

To have a fan is a wish of every traveler who visits the hottest place of China. A desert wind burns people’s faces, and the ground is so hot that shoes’ soles melt. However, the view of the sunset when mountains look like a flaming dragon is really unforgettable!  

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