Hetian was always a hustling center on the south route of the ancient Silk Road and prospered when the road made an unprecedented prosperity during the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) dynasties. It was one of the three shining commercial passages of silk in Xinjiang's history. In today's 'silk capital' Hetian, many ruins of historical cultural relics still stand in desert, muttering its previous brilliancy.
The Ancient City of Niya is a major national cultural relic regarded as the 'Eastern Pompeii'. The Ancient City of Mallikurwatur and Ancient City of Yoktan are also shining gems among the civilized treasure in Hetian. Several artifacts unearthed from these three age-old cities can be seen in the Hetian Museum which showcases Hetian over the past thousands of years. Hetian was called Yutian which was the habitat of several kingdoms in remote times before the Yutian State got rising under the jurisdiction of the Protectorate of Xiyu (West Regions) and subdued the nearby states in the Eastern Han Dynasty(24-220). Its sphere of influence is roughly equivalent to current Hetian Region. The Ancient City of Niya in Minfeng County is considered to be the most influential relic of Hetian, which is always the concern of explorers and archeologists since it was first discovered by a British scientist in 1901.
Apart from historical relic of two thousand years, there are spectacles of the second largest desert in the world, Takla Makan. The Tarim Desert Highway across the 'ocean of death' from north to south is nowadays a convenient external passageway of Hetian and an ideal locality to admire the scenery in hinterland of desert. Drifting in the Hetian River is an excited and challenging activity for adventure favored by increasingly more brave people. Stream segment for drifting is in the lower reach of the Hetian River and probably suitable to drift from June to August during the river's flood season. Wild animals may be found to haunt in oasis of the desert.
Muz Mountain of Cele (Qira) County in southern Hetian Region is lofty with bumpy mountain roads to reach, making up the middle ranges of the great Kunlun Mountains together wither other seven mountains over 6,000 meters above the sea level. Peaks of Muz are almost snow-capped. This is an excellent destination with enigmatic mountain landscape along the route and visited by climbers every year.
Hetian Oasis surrounded by desert is a vital producing area of agricultural and cash crops. Vines planted along roads to save plowland are miracles created by farmers of Bageqi Town of Hetian County. Passing through the grape corridors, you may not begrudge the applauses to the spectacle which turns the whole town into a big vineyard.
As a silk capital with time-honored history of sericulture and filature, Hetian is also famed for nephrite jade. Kunlun is a mountain producing jade, which was known long time ago. Alemasi Jade Mine in southern Yutian County is a famous jade mining area in depth of Kunlun Mountains with more than 100 years of mining history. Yorungkash and Karakash rivers (known as the White Jade River and the Black Jade River in history) are main producing areas of Hetian jade. Flash flood rushed down the Kunlun Mountains and brought jade ore to the rivers which became jade thought tens of thousand years' washing and polishing. Hetian people picked up jade in the White Jade River for generations after the flood subsided. Many tourists would like to visit Alemasi and the rivers to try their fortunes.