Sites & cities that bear the name of Aksu


Today in : China
First trace of activity : ca. 2nd century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : 姑墨, Gumo, Ku-mo, Bharuka, Bohuan, Baluka, Bolujia, Po-lu-chia, 阿克苏市, ئاقسۇ شەھىرى, Aksou, Akesu, Ak-su, Akshu, Aqsu

Description : Aksu is a city in and the seat of Aksu Prefecture, Xinjiang, lying at the northern edge of the Tarim Basin. The name Aksu literally means "white water" (in Turkic) and is used for both the oasis town and the Aksu River. The economy of Aksu is mostly agricultural, with cotton, in particular long-staple cotton, as the main product. Also produced are grain, fruits, oils and beets. The industry mostly consists of weaving, cement and chemical industries. The land currently under the administration of the Aksu City is divided in two parts, separated by the Aral City. The northern part hosts the city center, while the southern part is occupied by the Taklamakan Desert. From the Former Han dynasty (125 BCE to 23 CE) at least until the early Tang dynasty (618-907 CE), Aksu was known as Gumo 姑墨 . The ancient capital town of Nan ("Southern Town") was likely well south of the present town. During the Han dynasty, Gumo is described as a "kingdom" (guo) containing 3,500 households and 24,500 individuals, including 4,500 people able to bear arms. It is said to have produced copper, iron and orpiment. The territory of Gumo was roughly situated in the counties of Baicheng and Wensu and the city of Aksu of nowadays. During the Buddhist era, it was known as Bharuka, Bohuan and Baluka, Bolujia (in pinyin), Po-lu-chia (in Wade-Giles). The Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang visited this "kingdom" in 629 CE and referred to it as Baluka. He recorded that there were tens of Sarvastivadin Buddhist monasteries in the kingdom and over 1,000 monks. He said the kingdom was 600 li from east to west, and 300 li from north to south. Its capital was said to be six li in circumference. He reported that the "native products, climate, temperament of the people, customs, written language and law are the same as in the country of Kuci or modern Kucha, (some 300 km or 190 mi to the east), but the spoken language is somewhat different ." He also stated that fine cotton and hemp cloth made in the area was traded in neighbouring countries.

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