The Silk Road - Episode 8
A Heat Wave Called Turfan
Mud lake below sea level, excessive heat in summer with people sleeping in open air on roofs. Spectacular ruins of city of Gaochang (Kocho) with a fair amount on history and culture and some pictures of important artifacts including Manichaean and Nestorian paintings. Emphasis on cosmopolitan nature of the town. Impressive T’ang era fortress of Jiaohe (Yarkhoto) on a large plateau, but minimal comment on its history.
Importance of grape harvest and raisins to the local economy; shows process of drying the raisins. The important Bezeklik Buddhist caves in nearby mountains, but talks as much about destruction by locals and foreign archaeologists as it does about content of paintings. One painting shows supposedly foreign ambassadors from more than a millenium ago. Interesting footage of the karez underground irrigation system including a walk through the channels. Overall, a lot of useful material in this film.