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Emin Minaret Turpan City Xinjiang Region 苏公塔

Emin Minaret mosque, Turpan, Xinjiang
Front view of the Emin Minaret mosque, Turpan
The Emin Minaret was the highlight of our recent trip to Turpan City in China's western Xinjiang Uyghur "Autonomous" Region. The beautiful geometric simplicity of this mosque's lines reminded us strongly of the ancient ruins we visited a few years ago in Egypt - helped no doubt by the same earthern coloring.

Fortunately for us, we were the only ones there when we visited, and we had this magic monument to ourselves for the 30 or so minutes it took us to walk through and around it.

Minaret tower of the Emin Minaret Mosque, Turpan, Xinjiang
Tower of the Emin Minaret, Turpan


Looking at the plaque out front, the Emin Minaret (also called the Sugong Minaret) was built by Emin Hoja, head of Turpan prefecture in his 83rd year, and his son, Su Lai Man Gong, in 1777.

Emin pledged loyalty to the Qing Dynasty and made great contributions in the struggle against invasion and separation for all his life. In his later years, he built this minaret to express his indebtedness to the Qing Dynasty and his piety to Allah.

Courtyard in the Emin Minaret, Turpan, Xinjiang
A courtyard of the Emin Minaret, Turpan, Xinjiang
The minaret is the largest Islamic structure in Xinjiang, and was designed and built by the Uygur builder, Iblain and others.

It is more brick than wood, which is said to contribute to its elegant lines. The Minaret is 37 m high and 10 m in diameter at its base, and has a spiral staircase of 72 steps inside.

Graves at the Emin Minaret, Turpan, Xinjiang
Cemetery at the Emin Minaret, Turpan, Xinjiang
The big statue out the front is no doubt of Emin Hoja himself.

The outside of the Minaret features about a dozen different typical Uygur geometric patterns rendered in brick.

I recall the entry fee being in the range of, in USD, about $3 to $5 each, but it was one of the best spent entry fees of anywhere during our time in this fascinating region.

Statue of founder, Emin Minaret, Turpan, Xinjiang.
Statue of Emin Hoja, the founder of Emin Minaret mosque, Turpan, Xinjiang.
© Beijing-Visitor

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