Skip to content
Site Tools
Increase font size Decrease font size Default font size default color blue color green color
Home Travel in Xinjiang The Emin Minaret
The Emin Minaret
Travel in Xinjiang

The Emin Minaret
(é mǐn tǎ 额敏塔)(or Su Gong Ta)(sū gōng tǎ 苏公塔) is one of the more distinguished landmarks of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (xīn jiāng 新疆). It is located a short distance east of the city of Turpan (tǔ lǔ fān 吐鲁番)(Turfan, or Tulufan) and near the ancient Uygur capital of Gaochang (gāo chāng gǔ chéng 高昌古城) and the cave temples of Bezeklik (bǎi zī kè lǐ kè qiān fó dòng 柏孜克里克千佛洞) along the ancient Silk Road.

Brief Introduction
Emin Minaret is the largest extant old tower in Xinjiang; it is the only Islamic tower among the hundred famous towers in China. The Emin Minaret was constructed by local craftsmen using local materials. The structure itself is made of wood and brick. The towering architectural shape of a minaret, always taller than it is wide, is a clear sign of the presence of Islam as are the abstract, geometric decorative elements.

Historical Background
The Emin MinaretThe minaret had its beginnings in 1777 during the reign of Turfan’s ruler, the hereditary headmen, Emin Khoja (é mǐn hé zhuó 额敏和卓)(or Goja), probably because of his quelling a rebellion against the Manchu Qianlong emperor (qián lóng huáng dì 乾隆皇帝). It was completed in the next year by his son, Suleman(sū lái màn 苏来曼), hence the name Su Gong Ta (sū gōng tǎ 苏公塔)(Prince Su Pagoda).

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

The Emin Minaret at NightThe minaret is of great architectural significance. There are no stories in the 44-meter (144 feet) high minaret . 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 a total of 14 windows at various directions and levels on all four sides for appreciating the complete view of Turpan. On the windows remained 14 long holes were used for natural lighting and ventilation. 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.

The Emin MinaretThe huge column made of grey bricks and earth would be dull if not for its decorative patterns. Smart Uyghur architects used bricks to form 15 different patterns such as waves, flowers or rhombuses. In addition, the architects even took the surroundings into account. Set against the azure sky, silvery Tianshan Mountain (tiān shān 天山) and the scarlet Flaming Mountain (huǒ yàn shān 火焰山), Emin Minaret displays a pristine but dignified air. When you look up at the minaret you will find how crystal blue and high the sky of Turpan is!

Admission Fee: CNY 23
Opening Hours: 8:50am to 8:00pm