2. The Northern Route of the Silk Road
There are two population centers located on the Northern Route of the Silk Road: Turfan to the northeast (01) and Kucha in the center (04).
Turfan, which is located in a bowl-shaped basin separate from the Tarīm Basin, has its lowest elevation at 154 meters below sea level.
This area flourished not only as a strategic point on the North Route of the Silk Road, but also for its location at a significant transportation crossroads where one could travel along the Northern -Tianshan Circuit, or into Mongolia, and Dzungaria, all areas where nomadic peoples lived.
The geographical proximity to China made it easy to bring Chinese culture into this area (Painted Image of Chinese Mythological Gods of Fuxi and Nvwa from Astāna Cemetery(16)).
The later Cheshi Kingdom was located at Yār-khoto during the Early Han Period and then in later times, the city of Gaochang (Kara-Khōja) prospered in this area around Turfan
Kucha was situated almost in the center of the Northern Route and in former times was known as Qiuci (亀玆国).
In 658, the Protectorate General of Anxi was established there, making Kucha an important base for trade in Central Asia. The notable Buddhist priest Kumārajīva (04 was from this area and introduced Mahayana Buddhism to East Asia during the Sixteenth Kingdoms Period.