Turpan karez water system

Turpan is an oasis in the Taklamakan desert (the second largest desert in the world after the Sahara). It is a large oasis which is famous for growing excellent grapes and melons. It is thanks to a clever irrigation system that the oasis has become so large.

The system consists of many underground canals that catch the ground water and leads it to the oasis. The canals connect dug wells. It all works thanks to the geography of the area. Look at the picture below, which shows a model of how it works. The Tianshan (Heavenly mountains) away in the picture are tall and snowcovered year-round. A lot of water comes from them. Some of this water becomes ground water, which collect north of the next, lower mountain range, the Flaming mountains. The area between the two mountain ranges becomes an underground water reservoir. When the ground water makes it over the Flaming mountain range it is collected in wells and then led to Turpan in underground canals. The canals have to be underground, because Turpan is so hot that the water would evaporate if it were on the surface. (When we arrived in the late afternoon, the temperature was 38, but it had been hotter earlier in the day, and this was in early September).

The system is a thousand years old or more!

The representation of Turpan in the model. On the right side, one can see how an underground canal comes out on the surface to provide water for the oasis. Turpan is a deep valley, the second lowest point in the world after the shores of the Dead Sea, and well below sea level.

In the museum, one could also go down underground to see a real karez, and here it is.

An amazing testimony to human ingenuity.

Postat av: Jessica

Mycket fina bilder! :)

2010-09-14 @ 08:03:14

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