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Beacon Towers

There are about twenty remnants of ancient beacon towers scattered over this area. These remaining towers, 5 to 10 meters in height and 20 square meters in area at the base, are mostly square in shape and built of tamped earth, although some are built of stones and lime. The intervals between these towers vary from 3 to 4 kilometers. The scene is vividly described by the lines by Censhen, celebrated poet of the Tang Dynasty. Beacon towers are ancient warning system. They often coexisted with the Great Wall. Together, they formed an integrated military defense system. However, some of them existed independently to perform the function of giving early warnings. Some scholars extend the length of the Great Wall to Xinjiang.
It is a demonstration of the Great Wall defense system in the broad sense. The building of beacon towers in Xinjiang lasted from the Western Han Dynasty to the recent Qing Dynasty. They were built roughly along north and south Tianshan roads, in agreement with the stretch of the northern line and the new northern line of the Silk Road.
The beacon towers in Hami(Kumul) started from Xingxingxia in the east, to Shanshan in the west, to Qincheng in the northeast, to Barkol in the north, and to Yumenguan and Loulan in the south. There are also ruins of beacon towers on the way from Santanghu Lake to Yiwu(Araturuk) and then to Mongolia. Now, a total of fifty-one beacon towers of different historical periods have been preserved. Among them, nineteen are in Hami(Kumul) twenty-nine in Barkol and three in Yiwu(Araturuk).
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