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The Flaming Mountain

The Chinese classical novel "The Journey to the West" (西游记) by Wu Cheng'en has made

the Flaming Mountain

, where in Xinjiang's Turpan, famous throughout China and the world. 

The Flaming Mountain, Turpan, China
The famous Chinese novel endows the Flaming Mountain with mysterious veil

A legend goes that Tang Monk, who was going to the west to improve his spiritual cultivation, had been blocked by the extremely hot Flaming Mountain, where the story of Sun Wu Kong (孙悟空, usually called Monkey King) borrowing a giant banana leave and used it thrice to put out the big fire happened. The notorious Flaming Mountain was formed when Sun Wu Kong was making some troubles in the Heaven, he treaded the octagonal furnace for producing elixir and several burning bricks had fallen to the earth. There are folk sayings that "flaming 800 miles all the way and grass will not grow" and "if climb over the mountain everything will be melted." 

Today, the artistic reproduction of parts of "The Journey to the West" is appeared in the Turpan Silk Road Art Museum neighboring to the Thousand-Buddha Caves of Bezklik. 

The Flaming Mountain, Turpan, China
The reddish body of the Flaming Mountain

The Flaming Mountain is in fact a stripe of mountain range of length 100 kilometers with width of 7 to 10 kilometers. Its average altitude is 500 above sea level and the highest point is 851 meters, located near a place called Sheng Jin Kou. According to some geological findings, the Flaming Mountain was formed by red sand and muddy rocks in Jurassic, Cretaceous and Tertiary ages. The body of the mountain looks robust and rugged. This is due to the ancient water flowing and erosion. There is no any vegetation here and strong wind with flying sand often occurs. The reddish body will be reflecting brilliantly when the sun shines, especially in summer. The highest surface temperature is said may be reaching to 80 degrees Celsius and the air temperature often goes up 47 degrees. 

The Flaming Mountain, Turpan, China

A big contrast is seen at the Grape Trough, one of the trenches that cut through the mountain, like oasis stripes, with much water and many trees. It is an excellent escape from the desert heat!

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Yuanyang Travel Tips
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