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Karez Well
Travel in Xinjiang

Karez Well
Karez Well
(kǎn ér jǐng 坎儿井) is an unique underground water system invented and built by the ancient farmers of various ethnic minorities of Turpan (tǔ lǔ fān 吐鲁番), which aiming to adapt to the basin natural environment, solar radiation and the atmosphere in the dry region. This irrigation system of wells connected by underground channels is considered to be one of the three great ancient projects in China.

Brief Introduction
Karez WellKarez Well is a kind of underground water works invented and built by laboring people of various ethnic groups in our country to adapt to the natural environment in dry region. In Xinjiang (xīn jiāng 新疆), Karez Wells are mainly in Hami (hā mì 哈密), Turpan and Mori, but they are most in Turpan Basin (tǔ lǔ fān pén dì 吐鲁番盆地), where there are altogether 1100-odd Karez wells and have the total length of over 5000 km. Some people hold the view that Karez Wells of Xinjiang, the Great Wall and Canal constitute three Ancient Chinese Works.

Natural Geographical Conditions
Why Karez Wells were built in great number in Turpan Basin can be attributed to the local natural geographical conditions. To the north of Turpan Basin is Bogda Mountai (bó gé dá shān 博格达山). In summer, large amounts of snow-broth and rainwater flow into Turpan Basin and infiltrate into the ground, and constitute underground current, thus making an adequate water source under ground for Karez Wells. Earth in Turpan Basin is solid and good for building well and underground channel. In Turpan it is very dry and hot in summer, and land here has a high evaporation rate. In wind season, the strong wind here can blow sands into every corner here. After wind, a lot of farmland and water channels are buried by sands. But Karez Wells can supply waters through underground channels and is independent of the effect of season and wind and sand. In addition, Karez Wells have a very low evaporation rate and a stable supply of water, and can irrigate farmland all the year round.

StructureThe word “Karez” means well. Karez Well is composed of four parts: vertical hole, underground channel, aboveground channel and water storage dam. It is built this way: first, to find water source in a place where there is underground water current, second, dig out vertical wells with certain distance in between, then, to build underground channel connecting these wells and thus water will flow through the underground channel. The outlet of underground channel is connected to the aboveground channel and thus underground water can flow out and irrigate farmland through the aboveground channel.

Historical documents show that the sinking method of the Karez wells inside Xinjiang including the Western Region (xī yù 西域) was introduced by the Han people (hàn rén 汉人). The majority of the ethnic minorities of the northwest borderland hadn't mastered the sinking technology by that time. It was Lin Zexu (lín zé xú 林则徐) that stood out among all the people who advocated and promoted the Karez wells as the most powerful and influential one in modern times. Ever since then the Karez wells have been part of the irrigation works.

Karez Well As an ancient irrigation system, the Karez well system has ever played a very important role in the daily life and in the production of the people in Turfan area. Though there is highly advanced electromechanical irrigation system, the function and position of the Karez system can not be superseded completely. On May 25, 1993, the 3rd Session of the 4th Standing Committee of Turfan Municipal People's Congress proved Provisions on the Administration of Turfan Karez Wells. It can be seen that its authenticity and integrity can be well preserved in the future.

Admission Fee: CNY210
Opening Hours: 8:00am-5:00pm