Sites & cities that bear the name of Qiemo


Today in : China
First trace of activity : ca. 11th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Shanshan, Cherchen, چەرچەن, Чәрчән, 且末, Qarqan, Charchan

Description : The oasis town of Qiemo or Cherchen (Uighur: چەرچەن, Чәрчән, Chinese: 且末; pinyin: Qiĕmò; Uighur: Qarqan, also spelled Charchan) is the capital of Qiemo County, Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang, China. It is on the Qiemo River and at the foot of the Qilian Mountains, on the Southern Silk Route. In ancient times, the town and the kingdom it controlled were jointly known as Shanshan. Settlement in the Qiemo area dates back to the Bronze Age. The town is located along the ancient Jade Road that traded with the earliest Chinese dynasties, and Bronze Age rock carvings were found south of town along another ancient trade route to what is now Tibet. Mummies dated to 1,000 BCE were discovered at the Zaghunluq site less than six km southwest of the city center. A particularly well-preserved one is known as the Cherchen Man. Qiemo existed as an independent kingdom during the Former Han Dynasty (123 BCE to 23 CE). It was described in the Hanshu, chapter 96A thus: The seat of the government is the town of Ch'ieh-mo, and it is distant by 6820 li from Chang'an. There are 230 households, 1610 individuals with 320 persons able to bear arms. the noble of Fu-kuo (support of the state), the leaders of the left and the right and one interpreter-in-chief ... There are grapes and various types of fruit. To the west there is communication with Ching-chüeh at a distance of 2000 li." — Hanshu, chapter 96a, translation from Hulsewé 1979. Although the town is described in documents from the 1st century BCE to the 9th century CE, the ancient site has not yet been discovered, even though four major expeditions have searched for it. The area was ruled as the kingdom of Calmadana during the earliest heyday of the Silk Road. Its fortunes have since ebbed and flowed, mainly with the popularity of the southern trade route. The Chinese Buddhist monk Faxian left a brief account of the country after his visit c. 399 CE, recording that there were probably more than 4,000 monks in the country, all Hinayana. Song Yun passed through around 519, and wrote that the country had just been defeated by the Tuyuhun. It was sometimes abandoned, as when Buddhist monk Xuanzang passed through in the year 644, and when Marco Polo came by in 1273.

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