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Emin Minaret (1777-78)

The Emin (or Imin) Minaret (or Su Gong Ta) is one of the more distinguished landmarks of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It is located a short distance east of the city of Turpan (Turfan, or Tulufan) and near the ancient Uygur capital of Gaochang and the cave temples of Bezeklik along the ancient Silk Road.

The minaret had its beginnings in 1777 during the reign of Turfan�s ruler, the hereditary headmen, Emin Khoja (or Goja), probably because of his quelling a rebellion against the Manchu Qianlong emperor. It was completed in the next year by his son, Suleman, hence the name Su Gong Ta (Prince Su Pagoda), It was designed by the Uygur architect Ibrahim in a pre-Safavid Iranian, some suggest Afghani, style. The minaret is a circular strongly-tapered structure with its sun-dried bricks arranged in sixteen different geometrical and floral patterns throughout its 144 ft (44 m) height, including its almost 33 ft (10 m) base. Visitors no longer are permitted to walk up the 72 steps to the top of the minaret, but there is a nice view from the balcony overlooking the mosque. The interior of the mosque has a simplicity with its wooden pillars and beamed ceiling. The mosque has been restored since these photographs were taken in 1988.

Text by Professor Robert D. Fiala, Concordia University, Nebraska


All images copyright 1988, 2004 by Robert D. Fiala of Concordia University, Nebraska, USA

Bonavia, Judy, rev. by William Lindesay and Wu Qi. The Silk Road: From Xi�an to Kashgar, 6th ed.
  Airphoto International, Ltd., 2002. Hong Kong

Liou, Caroline, et al. Lonely Planet: China, 7th ed.
  Lonely Planet Publications, 1988. Melbourne

Wood, Frances with Neil Taylor. China Blue Guide, 2nd ed.
  A. C. Black, 2001. London

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