Turpan to͝orˈfänˈ [key], town and oasis (1994 est. pop. 64,300), in the Turpan depression (c.5,000 sq mi/12,950 sq km), E Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. It is an agricultural center producing cotton and cotton textiles, silk, wheat, grapes, dried fruit, and wine; crop irrigation depends on modern wells and an ancient network of underground tunnels (karez) that bring water to wellshafts in the surrounding area, mainly from the edge of the Tian Shan. Oil is produced in the area. Turpan is the chief town of the Turpan depression, the lowest point (505 ft/154 m below sea level) in China.

The depression was the center (a.d. 200–400) of a flourishing civilization in which Indian and Persian elements were combined. This civilization was later absorbed by the Uigurs, who had their capital at nearby Gaochang (9th–13th cent.). Also nearby are the ruins of the ancient city of Jiaohe and the Bezeklik cave temples. Archaeological finds made in the early 20th cent. include much Nestorian literature and the bulk of the extant Manichaean literature.

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