Have A Grape Time In Turpan

Grapes were first grown in Turpan—an oasis town in the Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region—over 2,000 years ago, and together with Turpan melons and wines, soon became the region’s specialty products. Turpan grape was often presented as tribute to the Tang imperial court. Of the 100-odd grain strains in Turpan, the seedless white grapes are the most precious.

Most of Turpan's grapes are grown in the renowned Grape Valley. Despite the sweltering summer heat that hits Turpan basin, this long valley remains cool and humid. The Grape Valley is filled with trellised walkways, that in the peak season of July to August, are covered with bunches of grapes.

The seedless and thin-skinned white grapes produced here, in the elliptic shape, are crystal-clear, crisp, and juicy, which gains it the reputation of the "green pearl of China."Besides grapes, peachs, apples, pears and various types of melon are also grown here. In the valley you will find a park as well as patios and outdoor tables where you can eat the grapes and other fruit or enjoy a delicious meal complemented by the locally produced wine.

Grapes really play important roles in the Turpanese’s life. Almost every household in Turpan has a hand in the grape business and the markets are full of sweet dried raisins. There are even the Xinjiang Grape Festival hold annually since 1990 when it was first launched. The Grape Festival is not just an ode to Turpan's most important agricultural product, but a chance to celebrate the local way of life. Expect plenty of cultural treats in this remote corner of China.

Tourists may attend Uygur wedding ceremonies and performances of lighthearted and graceful local dances. Hami melon contest is held, and trade fairs are arranged. In addition, travelers may visit the grape, melon and fruit streets and see commercial camel teams traveling along the Silk Road as they did 2,000 years ago.