Turpan Karez Well 坎儿井

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Karez Well 坎儿井

The Karez Irrigation System is regarded as one of the three most important achievements of ancient China, right alongside the Great Wall and the Grand Beijing-Hangzhou Canal. This irrigation system has a long history of over 2,000 years and first appeared during the Han Dynasty. Although large water channels and reservoirs have been built in recent years, the Karez Irrigation System still plays an important role in Turpan. Xinjiang Province has over 1,600 of such systems, 1,200 of which are in Turpan. Today, 850 are still active. 
The Karez Irrigation System is the pride of Turpan and was created by the local people using their wit, dedication, blood, and sweat. The system crisscrosses Turpan like a vital network of blood vessels, bringing the precious water to the most arid of places, creating an oasis in the desert. 
Keraz systems are very elaborate and consist of a network of vertical wells, underground ditches, ground ditches, and small reservoirs. The vertical wells are for ventilation purposes and help with the maintenance of the whole system. The underground ditches connect with the ditches on the surface that serve to lead the water up to the ground. The depth of the vertical wells how they are spaced depends on their distance to the water source. Generally, the ones located upriver are deeper and more spaced out than those located in the lower reaches. The space between each vertical well in the upper reaches range from 30 to 70 meters while in lower reaches, 10 to 20 meters. The deepest vertical well is over 90 meters. This system is usually 3 to 8 kilometers long, with the longest one measuring up to 20 kilometers.   
Turpan's unique geography and climate can help to explain why the Karez has been built in Turpan in large numbers. Melted snow from Tianshan Mountain is the water source of the Karez. During summer seasons, large amounts of melted snow and rain water flow into the Turpan area but are quickly absorbed into the dry ground, feeding the many underground streams. Turpan is the hottest and driest place in China, and Karez reduces water evaporation and makes use of every drop of the precious water.
Admission Fee: CNY 30
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