Emin Minaret

Emin Minaret, 3km (2 miles) east of central Turpan is the largest extant old tower in Xinjiang; it is the only Islamic tower among the hundred famous towers in China. Construction of this religious tower and mosque complex began in 1777 at the request of the then ruler of Turpan Emin Khoja. He was an outstanding patriot who defended the unification of China throughout his life. He had eight sons but the eldest son died of illness at a young age. Influenced by Emin, all his remaining sons made contributions during the war against Jungar rebellions. It was Suleman, Emin's second son, who built this minaret with his own money. This is the reason why the minaret is also named Su Gong Ta. Upon Emin's death, Suleman inherited his father's rank and became the second Turpan ruler.
Emin Minaret (Su Gong Ta) Emin Minaret (Su Gong Ta)
Emin Minaret is made of sun-dried bricks and is decorated with delicate geometric and floral patterns. The adjoining mosque has a latticed ceiling and a domed sacred space, all supported by wooden pillars. From the top of the mosque there is a good view of the surrounding vineyards and mountains. 

At the entrance to the minaret, two steles were set up. On one is a Chinese inscription that explains that the purpose of building the minaret was to show gratitude to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and to commemorate exploits of Emin Khoja while the Uygur inscription on the other stele gave thanks to Allah.

The historical background of Emin Minaret is underlined by the architectural significance. The 44-meter (144 feet) high minaret has no stories. From the base with a diameter of 10 meters (32.8 feet), the minaret tapers to an Islamic dome. In the center of the minaret is a brick-piled pillar with 72 steps around it spiraling to the top. There are 14 openings for ventilation and lighting, which are located in different directions and at various heights. On the top, there is an attic of 10 square meters (107 square feet) with large windows on the four sides through which the marvelous landscape could be admired. Unfortunately, tourists today cannot climb to the top due to the protection given to the minaret.

However, the unique exterior of the minaret will make up for this lack. The huge column made of grey bricks and earth would be dull if not for its decorative patterns. Smart Uygur architects used bricks to form 15 different patterns such as waves, flowers or rhombuses. What's more, the architects even took the surroundings into consideration. Set against the azure sky, silvery Tianshan Mountain and the scarlet Flaming Mountain , Emin Minaret displays a pristine but dignified air. Only when you look up at the minaret will you find how crystal blue and high the sky of Turpan is!

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