Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Imin Minaret Turpan City Xinjiang Region

苏公塔
Imin Minaret mosque, Turpan, Xinjiang
Front view of the Imin Minaret mosque, Turpan
The Imin 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 Imin Minaret Mosque, Turpan, Xinjiang
Tower of the Imin Minaret, Turpan
Looking at the plaque out front, the Imin Minaret (also called the Sugong Minaret) was built by Imin Hoja, head of Turpan prefecture in his 83rd year, and his son, Su Lai Man Gong, in 1777.

Imin 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 Imin Minaret, Turpan, Xinjiang
A courtyard of the Imin 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 Imin Minaret, Turpan, Xinjiang
Cemetery at the Imin Minaret, Turpan, Xinjiang
The big statue out the front is no doubt of Imin 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, Imin Minaret, Turpan, Xinjiang.
Statue of Imin Hoja, the founder of Imin Minaret mosque, Turpan, Xinjiang.