Qiemo (Cherchen)

Qiemo (Cherchen)

Qiemo or Cherchen, or Churchman is an oasis town located in Southern Xinjiang, China. As an important town on the Qiemo River, at the foot of the Qilian Mountains, on the old Southern Silk Route, it was frequently known as Shanshan which was once one of the 36 state in the western region.
This area has a truly ancient human history, based on the 3,500-year-old cemetery along the ancient Jade Road that traded with the earliest Chinese dynasties and the similarly-dated Bronze Age rock carvings south of town along another ancient trade route to what is now Tibet and a forgotten back door to central China.
More than a thousand years later, the area was ruled as the kingdom of Calmadana during the earliest heyday of the Silk Road. Its fortunes have since ebbed and flowed, mainly with the popularity of the southern trade route: sometimes abandoned, as when Buddhist monk Xuan Zang passed through in the year 644 AD, and other times bustling, as when Marco Polo came by in 1273.
Now Qiemo is a modern town with wide paved streets, traffic lights, modern hotels etc. However, there are few travelers visiting here due to it is located remote from Urumqi.
The Zaghunluq Ancient Mummy Tomb is well-known in Qiemo. There are Fourteen 2,600-year-old famous Indo-European Tarim mummies still lying in their original. The most famous thing about the city is an archeological find, mummies from the ancient Tocharian civilization. These are about 4000 years old with Caucasian features. One man is about two meters, a woman near 180cm. The best place to see them, however, in the Xinjiang Museum in Urumqi.