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Daban's Girls, Loulan's Ruins
2005-11-16 13:52:01
Daban town is famous for girls and windmills, while Loulan is a myth in the desert.

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While Daban town is always associated with the happy melody of the famous folk song  "Daban girls", Loulan is a mysterious place, regarded as the Middle Kingdom's "Pompeii" and an ancient cradle of civilization. 

Meaning "a passage to get through",  Daban town is situated about 90 kilometers south of Urumqi, right in a valley on the east ridge of Tianshan Mountain.

It's not the only place in Xinjiang with this name, but it is this town which features in Mr. Wang Luobin's song, making this Daban a must stop for every Chinese traveler. Halfway between downtown Urumqi and Daban, there is a great backdrop for picture buffs, the wind power plant.  This is the largest wind power plant in the whole of Asia!  Local people say even trucks can be blown off wheels when the wind gets up to full speed, although the wind only blows half a year here, from winter to summer.

Water is a luxury item in Xinjiang, so the advantage of Daban's position near Tian shan is obvious, you get lakes. The salt lake at Chaiwopu Basin twenty kilometers north of Daban town is dubbed the Dead Sea of China. Word is, it's impossible to drown here, good news for non-swimmers. Indeed, with waters rich in salt and other healthy minerals, this lake is gaining popularity as a convenient and economic weekend getaway.

Were it not for the famous song, Daban would probably just be another one-horse town in enormous Xinjiang, a mere lunch stopover for travelers on their way from Urumqi to the region's southern area.  However, that's not to say that the town lacks its own attractions.


Over eighty percent of the local population belong to the Hui Ethic group, who share customs similar to the Uygur people. They serve up plenty of mouth-watering Hui specialties, such as yogurt, dumplings and fried noodles. Moreover, when it comes to food for the brain, the fascinating history of Daban is a good starting point. Specifically, try starting at Baishui Fort Relics, just five kilometers out of town.

This site used to be an ancient fortress during the Tang Dynasty, yet now the local government has rebuilt it into a theme park, where you can get a pretty good insight into the local people's life style.

Guarding the middle route of the Silk Road thousand years ago, Baishui Fort is located right on the demarcation line of North and South Xinjiang.

Even today, you can still identify the rammed earth walls of this fortress, which was built on a single piece of black rock, and surrounded by Baishui Creek, or White water Creek.

"Daban Girls" is the first Uygur folk song Wang Luobin adapted into Chinese, and probably the most popular one.

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Absolute Xinjiang
Xinjiang Photo Gallery

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