Cherchen Basic Knowledge :
Cherchen Town Today
History of Cherchen (Qiemo)
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This page was last updated on: May 29, 2017
The Cherchen Report
Introduction to Cherchen - Qiemo (且末 ; )
Cherchen Landmarks & Monuments
Cherchen Town & Area Maps
Location: 38° 08′ 09″ North,  85° 31′ 48″ East
Elevation: 1225 meters (4198 feet).
Surface Area of Cherchen County:
The Cherchen County has a surface area of  138,645 square kilometres (53,531 sq mi)
Population: around 60 thousand (2002 Census).

Cherchen is a remote provincial county town in the south of the Tarim River Basin of West-China's Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region. It is situated along the Cherchen River on the south rim of the Taklamakan, never returning desert and is a county of the Bayin Gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture.
Geographically, Cherchen and County are bordered by Ruoqiang (Charkliq) and County in the East. The southern border in turn is formedby the Kunlun Mountain Range, which itself forms the northernmost rim of the Tibetan high mountain plateaux and the border with Tibet Autonomous Region of China (P.R.C.). To the West the ancient Silk Road extends towards Niya (Minfeng) where Cherchen County is bordered by Niya (Minfeng) County. Finally, to the north lies the sandy expanses of the arid Taklamakan Desert with their forbidding climate and non-existent population. Technically, the northern border of Cherchen County is formed by the Yuli or Lop Nor County, the main administrative settlement of which is Korla, situated 100s of kilometers from Cherchen.
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Camel Driver on the Silk Road, China
Tadjik Camel Driver on the Silk Road, China Photographic Print
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Alphabetically ordered list of Monuments, Landmarks and other sites of interest in and around Cherchen
There is currently no information available on any Landmarks and Monuments within Cherchen Town, or in the vicinity of Cherchen.

  he most famous historical landmark of Cherchen Town are no doubts its ancient ruins of Cherchen, the Silk Road settlement later excavated by Sven Hedin and others.  Later finds at this site yielded mummies from the ancient Tocharian people, a civilization of European looking people which consisted in the Tarim Basin no some 4.000 to 5.000 years ago. Their striking Caucasian features are as yet not fully explained. One man is about two meters, a woman near 180cm. The best place to see them, however, in the museum in Urumqi.

   Zaghunluq Ancient Mummy Tomb. Fourteen 2,600-year-old famous Indo-European Tarim mummies still lying in their original.

   Cherchen Museum, (In the Toghraklek Manor). A Uyghur architectural gem of a warlord's home containing a display of ancient Zaghunluq grave artifacts and a collection more recent farm and household items.

   Kunlun Square. A large town square.

   Ancient Ruins. Two small nearby ancient ruins, including Lalulik.

A Full listing of Cherchen City Landmarks, Monuments, Hotspots and other sites of importance in alphabetical order. Search through the list to find your Full Report and Photo-Virtual Tour of each monument or landmark within the City, or Region of Cherchen in Bayin Gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture of Xinjiang-Uygur AR of China (PRC).
Cherchen Public Transportation
Cherchen is currently but a dwindling county town on the Southern edge of the advancing Taklamakan Desert. Virtualy no foreign visitors venture this far away from the main cities and off the main grid of public transportation. Expect little.

As various maps of the Xinjiang Region clealy show, there are currently no railroad connections along the southern rim of the Tarim River Basin and the Taklamakan Desert. Therefor, Cherchen has no Railway Station.

The railway station nearest to Cherchen (Qiemo) Town can be found  at considerable distance to the North-North-West at Bayinghol, also known as Shihezi. Bayinghol (Shihezi) is the administrative Capital of the Bayingholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture of which Cherchen County is also a part.
Main Airfield at Urumqi - More information
Complete Listing of available Hotels in Cherchen, Bayin Gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang AR, China (PRC).
Click to go to Full Version Han Dynasty Empire & Connections Map !!
Main Airfield at Ruoqiang - More information
Previously, until the year 1996 AD, Cherchen was one of the most difficult towns to reach within the whole of the Xinjiang Region. One often needed 4 wheel drive vehicles to complete the journey.
This situation has however completely changed with the construction of a modern highway and road network across the nation, including the remote provinces of China (P.R.C.). As for Cherchen, today modern road connect with Niya and Khotan to the West, or across the Taklamakan Desert to the North.
Travel eastward to Dunhuang in Gansu Province or Xining in Qinghai Province by road is now also possible, although this involves a southern detour around Lop Nor, over a road leading through the rugged Altyn Tagh Mountains.

The only way to get to Cherchen is overland by Road via National Road G315. The G315 leads eastward out of Town to travel to Ruoqiang (Charkliq). In the West the G315 National Road leads through deserted wastelands to Ruokeya village and Niya Town.  A second road can be found some 30 kilometers due West of Cherchen where the S233 splits of from G315 National Road to lead northwestward into the
There are currently no Maps available for the Town of Cherchen.
For all available Maps and Satellite Images of Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region of China, please refer to: ″Xinjiang Maps Index″.
All Maps of Xinjiang-Uighur AR
There are currently no Hotel Reviews available specific for the Town of Cherchen.
For nearest Hotel and Lodging, check: Hotels in Xinjiang,
or hit below Button.
Modern day Cherchen is the largest Town in this part of the Tarim River Basin and East of Khotan.
Although considered ultra-remote, it has a surprisingly large modern center, with wide paved streets, traffic lights, modern hotels, modern restaurants, a hospital, a large central square, a supermarket, a computer store, Internet cafes, and several large apartment blocks.
Inside the Old Town the main attractions are the Uighur Bazaar or open market, and the surrounding Uighur residential neighborhoods.

The Town of Cherchen is surrounded by a green oasis of lands used for agriculture. Flocks of lifestock and herders are a common site.
The Cherchen Oasis extends up river, extending well into the foothills of the Kunlun Shan and adjacent Altyn Tag Mountains in the south-east corner of the County.

The Northern parts of Cherchen consist mainly of desert and have little population.
Location of Cherchen (Qiemo).
Airport:  Cherchen National Airport
In days and years long past, at the very beginning of recorded history in these regions , Cherchen was part of an ancient Kingdom that has become known as Shanshan.
A written memory of the existence of Shanshan was recorded by the envoys of Han Wu Di, the first ruler of the Chinese Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220  A.D.), who was the first ruler to send diplomatic missions to these regions for China, and so, in due course, established what would later become known as the Silk Road.

Shanshan (Uyghur: پىچان, Pichan, Piqan; Chinese: 鄯善; pinyin: Shànshàn) is the Chinese name for a kingdom that existed roughly from 200 BC to around 1000 BC at the north eastern end of the Taklamakan Desert. The Capital of ShanShan Kindom, was a walled town situated at or near the Lop Nor Lake and later became better known as Loulan. Thus Shanshan Kindgom included the great, salt lake known as Lop Nur as well as sections of the Lop Nor Desert. To the West it extended along the southern route of the Silk Road as far as the town of Niya, and included the current towns of Cherchen and Ruoqiang (Charkliq) as well.

In 126 BCE, the Chinese envoy, Zhang Qian described Loulan as a
As a dwindling county town in the South of the Tarim Basin Cherchen surprisingly has a National Airport or Airfield. The Airport Code is: IATA: IQM , or ICAO: ZWCM.
The airport lies at an altitude of of 1,252 meters ( 4108 feet) above mean sea level and is situated immediatly outside of Town.
The nearest alternative airport is situated to the East in Ruoqiang (Charkliq).The secondary alternatives are either Urumqi International Airport to the North, or the Kashgar International Airport due to the West, at Kashgar City.
Click Map to go to Full Version !!
Ulungur River
A (dated) Geographic Map of Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region with its main population centers, roads and railroad, connections, airports, and main geographical features.
Manas Lake
Urumqi, Capital of Xinjiang-Uygur AR
Turpan (Turfan)
Hami (Kumul)
Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur AR
Ulungur Lake
Bosten Lake
Tarim River
Lop Nor
Salt Lake
Niya (Minfeng), Khotan Prefecture, Xinjiang-Uighur AR.
Hetian (Hotan or Khotan)
Cherchen (Qiemo)
Yining - Kulju
Khovd, also: Khobdo (Mongolian: Ховд), Capital of Khovd Aimag, Republic of Mongolia.
Olgii (Өлгий cradle), Capital of Bayan Olgii Aimag, Republic of Mongolia.
Mörön (Mongolian: Мөрөн), Capital of Khövsgöl Aimag, Republic of Mongolia.
Altai (), Capital of govi-Altai Aimag, Republic of Mongolia.
Historically Cherchen has been an ancient Silk Road Oasis City with a Long History.
Founded at unknown date long before the birth of Christ, the Town for millenia was a crucial Oasis Town, a stop-over point along the so called southern route of the Ancient Silk Road, which traverses from Dunhuang (in neighboring Gansu Province) across Lop Nor, via Cherchen further to the West where the two routes of the Silk Road reunited at Kashgar.

The town of Cherchen was visited in the early 20Th century by Sven Hedin, and later Marcus Aurel Stein ad other western explorers who made some famous historical and archeological finds near
the Town.

Today, the main river in Cherchen County is the life giving Cherchen (Qiemo, or Qarqan River) which flows down from the Kunlun Mountains in the South of the county to flow past the town. The River Cherchen (Qiemo) is frozen for two to three months in the winter.

The administrative seat of Cherchen County is at Cherchen (Qiemo) Town.
Ruoqiang (Charkliq)
As a vital recouperation station along the Silk Road South Route, the Cherchen river and town of Cherchen later saw the passing of several famous Silk Road travelers. As recorded,the famous Buddhist monk Xuan Zang passed through Cherchen Oasis Town in the year 644 AD. When Marco Polo passed through Town in the year 1273 AD he reported Cherchen to be a bustling local market town.

In modern days the modern county of Cherchen is said to be based on the ancient kingdom of Qiemo (且末).

"The ancient Chü-mo seems to have been located on the east of the Cherchen (Charchan) river, across from the modern Cherchen (Cherchen Bazar).
A Map of the Han Dynasty Empire (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.) as it was at its largest size. Clearly, the Han Chinese territory proper ends in the West at Dunhuang, after which Loulan is the next station of the Silk Road under development (as drawn on Map). Loulan and the Shanshan Kingdom lay at a strategic crossroads, and thus were frequently attacked by both the Han and the Qiongnu (Northern Tribes). In 77 B.C. the Han won out establishing Shanshan as a tributary state to the Han Empire with a stooge as King.
fortified city near . Thus recorded and  mentioned in the Hanshu and the Hou Hanshu (the many Volumes of the Han Dynasty Annals), according to the Han Dynasty annals, the Town of Loulan (Shanshan, also Shenshen) it was during the Early Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD) had 230 households, 1,610 individuals and 320 persons able to bear arms. The Kingdom lay squarely in the way of the ambitious and expansionist Han Dynasty, who wished to extend trade routes to Loulan and beyond. It would be of the utmost convenience to the Han if they could somehow get more control over this territory and its peoples.

Only 50 years later, In the year 77 B.C., the Han Chinese succesfully engineered a coup in the small Kingdom. In the process, the King of Loulan, one Chang Gui, was treacherously slain by the supposedly friendly Han Envoy Fu Jiezi (傅介子) who subsequently arranged for a friendly ally within the Kingdom to be enthroned. Thus the Han achieved a victory without all out war, leaving the Loulan People (Shanshan) some of their pride as an independent culture and people, but establishing them as a vazal state or tributary Kingdom to the Han Throne in Chang'An (Xi'An). Henceforth, Loulan, the Kingdom of Shanshan, and the town of Cherchen would slowly be assimilated into China, a process that would take many centuries. As late as the 2nd Century A.D. the Shanshan Kingdom was still frequently contested by the Qiongnu Northern Tribes, and its people shifted allegiance several times. Near the fall of the Han Dynasty in 220 A.D., the Loulan (Shanshan) people were amongst the first to regain their (temporary) independence from the Han.
Read More about Shanshan and Cherchen during the Han Dynasty Era in the Chapter on
″Loulan (Shenshen)″.
China Report - Map o/t Taklamakan Desert & Tarim River Basin
Click Image  to go to Full Map !!
A Satellite Image Map of the entire Taklamakan Desert and the Tarim River Basin in Xinjiang-Autonomous Region of Western China.
Map gives explanation and backgrounds to Local Geography, the Flow of the Tarim River from the Pamir Mountains in the West to Lop Nur (Dry) in the East, ancient Oasis Cities of the Tarim Basin and Taklamakan Desert, the North and South Routes of the Silk Road in this Area, Past and Current Climate and Historic Backgrounds.
Click Image to go to Full Map !!

View - Mastermap of Asia (entire). in a larger map
        Full Google Map of Cherchen (Qiemo) in Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region.
desert and meet up with S165 Provincial Road. This road, S165 is the main road that crosses the Taklamakan Desert from South to North.
(There is a second such road more to the West, running from Khotan in the South across the Taklamakan Desert to Aral).
Turn right (and North) onto S165 to drive across the Taklamakan Desert to Luntai Town (and Bayinghol (Shihezi)). Turn left (and South) to head down to Niya (Minfeng) Town and rejoin the main pathway of the southern route of the ancient Silk Road.

Travel by rented car, hired car, or use the least expensive but most time consuming method and travel by bus.
Buses are the main mode of transport to get to Cherchen and Travel the wider regions.
Taxi's are the local alternative easy when crossing the town and venturing to sights in the immediate vicinity.

There are two Bus Stations in Cherchen. There is the main Bus Station and there is the Eastern Bus Station. Make sure you have the right point to take off to your destination.

The Bus to Khotan leaves from the Eastern Bus Station. There is (at least) one Bus every day, which leaves in the early morning. Distance to Khotan: 605 Kilometers.
Travel time by Bus from Cherchen to Khotan is around 11 hours. Bus travels over G315, via Niya and Kheriya where one can get off.

Bus to Ruoqiang (Charkliq) leaves daily. Distance to Ruoqiang is 351 kilometers. Traveling time is around 6 hours 6 hours.

Bus to Korla (Kuerle), the largest Town in Bayingholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, leaves 4 times per day.  Distance from Cherchen to Korla is 708 Kilometers. Travel Time is about 10 hours.
Dunhuang, Gansu Province.
Zhangye, Gansu Province.
Wuwei, Gansu Province.
Lanzhou, Capital of Gansu Province.
Hami (Kumul), Xinjiang-Uighur AR.
Kashgar (Kashi), Xinjiang-Uighur AR.
Turpan (Turfan), Xinjiang-Uighur AR.
(K)Hotan (Hetian), Xinjiang-Uighur AR.
Urumqi, Capital of Xinjiang-Uighur AR.
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