The Lost Kingdom - Lou Lan

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The Loulan ancient city, located in the west of Lake Lop Nur in Xinjinag Uygur Autonomous Region, is world-renowned for mysteriously vanishing in sand.

Loulan Kingdom in Xinjiang was established before 176 B.C. and vanished in 630 A.D. It is said that the kingdom was swallowed by the shifting sands of Taklamakan Desert. But till now, the reason of its disappearance still remains unknown.

As one of the important parts of Silk Road, Loulan ancient city acted as trading hub in ancient China. The transactions between China and the Western welcomed streams of camel trains loaded exotic goods from many parts of the world. It also became a best place to take a break when caravans passed through Loulan.

The lost kingdom was brought to light again in the spring of 1900 by a Swedish adventurer named Sven Hedin who was exploring the west of Lake Lop Nur. In March, 1900, Hedin's expedition came to the wasteland of Lake Lop Nur along Kongquhe River. When passed through desert, they carelessly lost their shovel in the camping area. So his assistant was sent to fetch shovel. After a moment, his assistant found the shovel and some piece of woodcarvings, therefore, Hedin decided to explore the ruins. In 1901, the ancient city Loulan was excavated by Hedin and his partners. The discovery of the ancient city of Loulan stirred a great sensation worldwide. It set off attracting archaeologists, historians and explorers form all over the world. Their excavation found more remains of buildings and relics, such as woodcarvings, ancient coins, silk fabrics, various articles for daily use as well as documents.

In the ruins of the building, the most easily seen part is €Three Rooms€. €Three Rooms€ facing south is the only house whose walls are built by mud bricks, and the neighboring houses are made of wood with the trace of red paint. Some of the woods reached 6.4 meters long. Through analyzing the position and structure of €Three House€, the building might be government office of the ancient city of Loulan. In the west and south of the city are the residential quarters of common folk. These houses are coated by the mud and straw.

The Loulan Kingdom is now a lifeless zone with endless "forests" of mounds rarely seen in other parts of the world. The scene here is desolate, with scattered ruins of the Silk Road accompanied by vast petroleum and mineral resources deep below the earth. The area still possesses a shroud of mystery, clearly the lure which has attracted so many visitors from oversea countries.
Inside the city, there are the ruins of government offices, civilian dwellings, Buddhist pagodas and temples. In the suburbs there are the remnants of meandering dried rivers, ditches and farmland while in the north of the city one can see scattered ancient tombs, stupas and beacon towers. Surrounding the whole city, there are dozens of temples, residential houses and graveyards.

According to archaeologist, the human activities existed in Tarim Basin. Thinking of other abandoned ancient cities in Tarim Basin, it is amazing that all these cities vanished in the 4th and 5th century. Although historians and archaeologists have been working hard to study the history of Loulan kingdom, its rise and fall and sudden disappearance was still wrapped in the mystery.
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