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III Historical Sites and Cultural Relics in Bayangol
(Tianshannet) Updated: 2010-July-7 18:24:38

Bayangol, a scroll of pictures of history of drastic changes,were passed through by the central and southern route of the ancient Silk Road in early Han Dynasty, 11 states of the 36 states of the west Region were situated here. On this land,banners were flyng for Zhang Qian's travelling to the West Region, the posture of Banchao heroically with his arm on the horse was remained here, as well as the footprints of the great Tang Dynasty monk who went to Western Heaven to obtain the scriptures through numberless hardships. Great many relics from Han and Tang Dynasty such as Loulan Ancient City which has slept for thousands of years and Haitou Relics are telling us the history of the ancient Silk Road's exploitation, flourishing and declining.

Loulan's Ancient Cultural Relics

The world was shocked when Sven Hedin announced that he had found the legndary Loulan. Lop Nur, once a fertile land with abundant water, now has left with it hot sand wind and earth full of cracks. But, juson this land, Loulan - an important city on Silk Road, has had its limmering glories for nearly 500 years.

Loulan Anciel City relics, a national important historical and cultural relic rotection unit, include a city area of 108,000 square meters,the eastern suburb cemetery, relics of the surrounding temple and folk houses and Loulan's noble cemetery, etc.Situated in Ruoqiang County west of Lop Nur,it is 16 km from the southern bank of the Peacock River's old road in the north,and 28 km from the northern bank of Lop Nur in the east. The cole relics are scattered in Yadan terrain west of Lop Nur. In March, 1901, the Swedish explorer Sven Hedin, assisted by a Uyghur guide Ao'erdeke, found Loulan Ancient City, and concluod that the old city's original name was Loulan from the word on the unearthed bamboo and wooden slips written in Kharosl "kroraina".

Tiemen Guan(Iron Gate Pass)

Anyhow, Loulan Ancient City is far from enough to expose the history of Loulan Kingdom. According to the unearthed dry corpses in the Sun Cemetery and the Small River Number 5 Cemetery at the downstream of the Peacock River Old Road,the archaeologists expose for us Loulan's history: back in the period about 4,000 years ago, there lived a primitive European tribe with golden hair and blue eyes on nomadism, and then left mysteriously with only a few dry corpses. In the coming 2,000 years, there was not a trace of Loulan, neither a half of ink mark on the history books. During Han and Jin Period(206 BC - 420 AD), Mongols appeared in Loulan area, which transferred into an agricultural civilization and exchanged east and west civilizations as it had such a vital geological location on Silk Road. Within the period of 1,500 years after Jin Dynasty, Loulan again disappeared without a trace; until 100 years ago, people by chance saw Loulan's collapsed city walls and the pagoda at the eastern edge of Taklamakan Desert.

The once Loulan Kingdom was a small state of half agriculture and half animal husbandry near Lop Nur. After Silk Road was open, Loulan became a junction of the east and west transportation. Because the Loulan king Angui, colluded with Huns, ceaselessly kidnapped and killed messengers of Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD), the great general Huo Guang then dispatched Fu Jianzi to go to the West Region and murder Angui. Fu Jianzi came to Loulan with the assassinator, saying untruthfully that Angui would be rewarded with gold coins.Angui was very happy and took the invitation to drink with Fu Jianzi, who on purpose made Angui drunk, and then helped him up to the spot behind the curtain, and had him killed by two assassinators. The close-by maharajas and nobles all escaped when seeing this. Fu Jiezi at once announced to the civilians: "King Angui had the capital crime, so the emperor sent me to have killed him. Now Han Dynasty's armies have arrived, and Angui's younger brother Weitouyan who presently is kept as hostage' in Chang'an is set as the new king." Fu Jiezi cut off Angui's head and had it sent to Chang'an by the express horse, which would be hanging beneath the northern gate of Weiyong Palace of Chang'an before the public.

After pacifying the riot in Loulan, Han Zhao Di, the emperor,announced Weitouyan as the new king and changed the state's name from Loulan into Shanshan. He offered the new king the state stamp, rewarded him a palace girl as his wife as well as lots of carts with horses, and supplies and gear of the army. Before leaving, Weitouyan said to the emperor: "1 have resided in Chang'an for a long time. Now your majesty send me back home as the king, as I am alone, I am afraid that I cannot make them submitted. Further more, at the present the princess is still alive, I will be killed by him because of the hatred. There is Yixun City in Loulan State which is a fertile and beautiful land. Your majesty can dispatch a general with armies to farm there to make a support for me." Then, a Sima, who was a senior administrator, was sent, who brought an army of 40 and went with Weitouyan to the West Region. After Weitouyan took the throne, he, in year 77 BC, moved the capital from Loulan Old Capital (Fangcheng) along the northern bank of Lop Nur to Nicheng (presently Ruoqiang County Town). Han government then set Yixun Defender in Yixun City east of Nicheng (the 36 Regiment Milan relics). Afterwards, Loulan no longer developed, with only the royal families still living there,this can be proved by the Loulan royal tomb unearthed in 2003.

During the period of East Hah, Ban Yong, son of Ban Chao,inherited his father as the West Region's viceroy. His assistant Suo Li led soldiers of a thousand from Jiuquan and Dunhuang to farm the land and build houses, and summoned up soldiers from the states of Shanshan, Yanji and Qiuci, one thousand in number in each state, to make dams at the downstream of Peacock River, which helped harvesting with mountains of grains collected by the way of opening up the wasteland using the water led from the dammed river. As Peacock River was dammed, the water resource of the downstream at Loulan Old City was stopped and thus the city was discarded. The farming soldiers constructed houses along the west bank of Lop Nur to build a new city, which gradually formed Loulan Ancient City of "Three Houses" that we see today, and, based on that,it developed into the location of the West Region's Zhangshi Government, which had the function of administration of both military protection and farming.

Many large scales of wars were often carried out to grab Loulan among Han Dynasty, Huns and the surrounding nomadic nationalities, thus, Loulan has been called "a monument of the intense world history". The once most glorious West Region town swiftly and quietly retreated from the stage of history after the third century. Until today after 1,700 years, it has still remained her posture when she "answered the curtained call" on the day, which gives us the impression that the history seemingly happened just yesterday. All these are like riddles with the answers not really exposed.

(SOURCES:China Intercontinental Press)Editor: zhaoqian
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