Turpan (Tulufan, Turfan, 吐鲁番), with a population of 254,900 by 2003, is an oasis town in Turfan prefecture in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China.
Turfan, about 150 km southeast of Ürümqi, is famous for Qingnian Lu street shaded by grapevine trellisesis. It located in a mountain basin, on the northern side of the Turfan Depression, at an elevation of 98 feet (30 meters) above sea level.
Turfan's climate is harsh, of the arid continental type, with very hot summers, very cold winters, and minimal precipitation, which amounts to only 20 mm (0.9 inch) per year. July is the hottest month, with averages highs of 39°C (103°F) and lows of 25°C (77°F), while January is the coldest, with highs of -4°C (26°F) and lows of -16°C (4°F). The Highest temperature ever measured in Turfan is 55°C (131°F) and the lowest is -38°C (-36.4°F).
However, the very heat and dryness of the summer, when combined with the area's ancient system of irrigation, allows the countryside around Turfan to produce great quantities of high-quality fruit.
With a long history, Turfan has been the centre of a fertile oasis (with water provided by karez) and an important trade centre. It was historically located along the Silk Road's northern route, at which time it was adjacent to the kingdoms of Korla and Karashahr to the southwest and the town of Qarakhoja (Gaochang) to the southeast.
The hisotory of Turfan started from the Kingdoms of Nearer and Further Jushi. The city again came under control of the Chinese Han Dynasty and, in 60 BC, became part of the Protectorate of the Western Regions. After the fall of the Han Dynasty, there was once an independent Kingdom ruled by a Turkish tribe known to the Chinese as the Gaoche. Then more Kingdoms were built there. Until the last king Idikut left Turpan area in 1284 for Kumul, then Gansu to seek protection of Yuan Dynasty, but local uyghur Buddhist rulers still held power until Invasion of Moghul Hizir Khoja in 1389. Convertion local buddhist population to Islam was completed nevertheless only in the last half of XV century.
Francis Younghusband, visited Turfan in 1887 on his overland journey from Beijing to India. He saw what was Turfan like at that time. He said it consisted of two walled towns, a Chinese one with a population of no more than 5,000 and, about a mile (1.6 km) to the west, a Turk town of "probably" 12,000 to 15,000 inhabitants. The town (presumably the "Turk town") had four gateways, one for each of the cardinal directions, of solid brickwork and massive wooden doors plated with iron and covered by a semicircular bastion. The well-kept walls were of mud and about 35 ft (10.7 m) tall and 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 m) thick, with loopholes at the top. There was a level space about 15 yards (14 m) wide outside the main walls surrounded by a musketry wall about 8 ft (2.4 m) high, with a ditch around it some 12 ft (3.7 m) deep and 20 ft (6 m) wide). There were drumtowers over the gateways, small square towers at the corners and two small square bastions between the corners and the gateways, "two to each front." Wheat, cotton, poppies, melons and grapes were grown in the surrounding fields.