Located about 50km (30mi) east of Turpan, the now-ruined city of Gaochang developed from a Han-era fort into the capital of a small independent kingdom, then a Tang prefectural capital (640), and finally a Uighur capital (Khocho or Qoco, ca. 840). The site was abandoned in the 14th century after repeated attacks from the Mongols. Today it is being redeveloped for tourism, with new walkways and restoration.
When Xuanzang visited Gaochang in 628 AD, he gave lectures in the large vihara (Buddhist monastery), seen here. It is located in the southwest corner of the city, between the inner and outer city wall. Its entrance (middle of photo) faces east.