Hotan,[a] is a major oasis town in southwestern Xinjiang, an autonomous region in western China. The city proper of Hotan broke off from the larger Hotan County to become an administrative area in its own right in August 1984. It is the seat of Hotan Prefecture.
With a population of 322,300 (2010 census), Hotan is situated in the Tarim Basin some 1,500 kilometres (930 mi) southwest of the regional capital, Ürümqi. It lies just north of the Kunlun Mountains, which are crossed by the Sanju, Hindutash and Ilchi passes. The town, located southeast of Yarkant County and populated almost exclusively by Uyghurs, is a minor agricultural center. An important station on the southern branch of the historic Silk Road, Hotan has always depended on two strong rivers - the Karakash River and the White Jade River to provide the water needed to survive on the southwestern edge of the vast Taklamakan Desert. The White Jade River still provides water and irrigation for the town and oasis.
Location in Xinjiang
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Seat||Nurbag Subdistrict (奴尔巴格街道)|
|• Total||85,035 km2 (32,832 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,382 m (4,534 ft)|
|• Density||3.8/km2 (9.8/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (China Standard)|
|GDP (2012)||CNY 4.071 billion|
USD $665.15 million
|GDP per capita||CNY 12,630|
|Local languages||Uyghur, Standard Chinese|
|License plate prefix||新R|
|Website||Hotan Government Website (in Chinese)|
|Alternative Chinese name|
|Second alternative Chinese name|
The original name of Hotan is said to have been Godana, the name used in the Sanskrit cosmological texts. It carried the meaning of "land of cows". In Chinese, the same name was written as Yu-t'ien, pronounced as Gu-dana. The pronunciation changed over the years to Kho-tan. In the 7th century, Xuanzang tried to reverse interpret it in Sanskrit as Kustana. However, the Tibetans continued to call it Go-sthana, which also carried the meaning of "land of cows",
The oasis of Hotan is strategically located at the junction of the southern (and most ancient) branch of the Silk Road joining China and the West with one of the main routes from ancient India and Tibet to Central Asia and distant China. It provided a convenient meeting place where not only goods, but technologies, philosophies, and religions were transmitted from one culture to another.
Tocharians lived in this region over 2000 years ago. Several of the Tarim mummies were found in the region. At Sampul, east of the city of Hotan, there is an extensive series of cemeteries scattered over an area about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) wide and 23 km (14 mi) long. The excavated sites range from about 300 BCE to 100 CE. The excavated graves have produced a number of fabrics of felt, wool, silk and cotton and even a fine bit of tapestry, the Sampul tapestry, showing the face of Caucasoid man which was made of threads of 24 shades of colour. The tapestry had been cut up and fashioned into trousers worn by one of the deceased. An Anthropological study of 56 individuals showed a primarily Caucasoid population. DNA testing on the mummies found in the Tarim basin showed that they were an admixture of Western Europeans and East Asian.
There is a relative abundance of information on Hotan readily available for study. The main historical sources are to be found in the Chinese histories (particularly detailed during the Han and early Tang dynasties) when China was interested in control of the Western Regions, the accounts of several Chinese pilgrim monks, a few Buddhist histories of Hotan that have survived in Classical Tibetan and a large number of documents in the Iranian Saka language and other languages discovered, for the most part, early this century at various sites in the Tarim Basin and from the hidden library at the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang.
The ancient Kingdom of Khotan was one of the earliest Buddhist states in the world and a cultural bridge across which Buddhist culture and learning were transmitted from India to China. Its capital was located to the west of the modern city of Hotan. The inhabitants of the Kingdom of Khotan, like those of early Kashgar and Yarkant, spoke Saka, one of the Eastern Iranian languages. Khotan's indigenous dynasty (all of whose royal names are Indian in origin) governed a fervently Buddhist city-state boasting some 400 temples in the late 9th/early 10th century—four times the number recorded by Xuanzang around 630. The kingdom was independent but was intermittently under Chinese control during the Han and Tang Dynasty.
After the Tang dynasty, Khotan formed an alliance with the rulers of Dunhuang. Khotan enjoyed close relations with the Buddhist centre at Dunhuang: the Khotanese royal family intermarried with Dunhuang élites, visited and patronised Dunhuang's Buddhist temple complex, and donated money to have their portraits painted on the walls of the Mogao grottos. Through the 10th century, Khotanese royal portraits were painted in association with an increasing number of deities in the caves.
Satuq's son, Musa, began to put pressure on Khotan in the mid-10th century, and sometime before 1006 Yusuf Qadir Khan of Kashgar besieged and took the city. This conquest of Buddhist Khotan by the Muslim Turks—about which there are many colourful legends—marked another watershed in the Islamicisation and Turkicisation of the Tarim Basin, and an end to local autonomy of this southern Tarim city state.
The rulers of Khotan were aware of the menace they faced since they arranged for the Mogao grottoes to paint a growing number of divine figures along with themselves. Halfway in the 10th century Khotan came under attack by the Qarakhanid ruler Musa, and in what proved to be a pivotal moment in the Turkification and Islamification of the Tarim Basin, the Karakhanid leader Yusuf Qadir Khan conquered Khotan around 1006.
Yūsuf Qadr Khān was a brother or cousin of the Muslim ruler of Kashgar and Balasagun, Khotan lost its independence and between 1006 and 1165, became part of the Kara-Khanid Khanate. Later it fell to the Kara-Khitan Khanate, after which it was ruled by the Mongols.
When Marco Polo visited Khotan in the 13th century, he noted that the people were all Muslim. He wrote that:
Khotan was "a province eight days’ journey in extent, which is subject to the Great Khan. The inhabitants all worship Mahomet. It has cities and towns in plenty, of which the most splendid, and the capital of the province, bears the same name as that of the province…It is amply stocked with the means of life. Cotton grows here in plenty. It has vineyards, estates and orchards in plenty. The people live by trade and industry; they are not at all warlike".
Qing imperial authority collapsed in 1912. During the Republican era (1912–49), warlords and local ethnic self-determination movements wrestled over control of Xinjiang. Abdullah Bughra, Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra, and Muhammad Amin Bughra declared themselves Emirs of Khotan during the Kumul Rebellion. Beginning with the Islamic rebellion in 1937, Hotan and the rest of the province came under the control of warlord Sheng Shicai. Sheng was later ousted by the Kuomintang. Shortly after the Communists won the civil war in 1949, Hotan was incorporated into the People's Republic of China. In 1984 the urban area of Hotan was administratively split from the larger Hotan County, and from then on governed as a county-level city.
Following the July 2009 Ürümqi riots, ethnic tensions rose in Xinjiang and in Hotan in particular. As a result, the city has seen occasional bouts of violence. In June 2011, Hotan opened its first passenger-train service to Kashgar, which was established as a special economic zone following the riots. In July of the same year, a bomb and knife attack occurred on the city's central thoroughfare. In June 2012, Tianjin Airlines Flight 7554 was hijacked en route from Hotan to Ürümqi.
Hotan has a temperate zone, cold desert climate (Köppen BWk), with a mean annual total of only 36.5 millimetres (1.44 in) of precipitation falling on 17.3 days of the year. Due to its southerly location in Xinjiang just north of the Kunlun Mountains, during winter it is one of the warmest locations in the region, with average high temperatures remaining above freezing throughout the year. The monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from −4.4 °C (24.1 °F) in January to 25.6 °C (78.1 °F) in July, and the annual mean is 12.54 °C (54.6 °F). The diurnal temperature variation is not large for a desert, averaging 12.3 °C (22.1 °F) annually. Although no month averages less than half of possible sunshine, the city only receives 2,587 hours of bright sunshine annually, which is on the low end for Xinjiang; monthly percent possible sunshine ranges from 50% in March to 75% in October.
Hotan is largely dominated by the Uyghurs. The urban population was recorded as 154,352 in 1998, 83% of which are Uyghurs, and 17% Han Chinese.
In the 2010 census, the population was recorded as 186,123 In the 2010 census figure, the figure has risen to 322,300. The increase in population is partly due to boundary changes.
Hotan Airport (IATA: HTN) serves the city. It serves regional flights to Ürümqi. Originally a military use airport, it was expanded significantly in 2002 to accommodate higher passenger volumes. It is located 12 km (7.5 mi) south of the city proper.
Hotan is served by China National Highway 315, which runs along the southern Tarim Basin from Ruoqiang to Kashgar, and the Trans-Taklamakan Desert Highway, which run north to Luntai. An expressway is being built between Hotan and Karakax County (Moyu) as of 2014.
Hotan is connected to the rest of China's rail network via the Kashgar–Hotan Railway, which opened to freight traffic in December 2010, and passenger service in June 2011. The railway station was constructed by a company under the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and is located in the town of Lasqi (拉斯奎) northwest of the city proper. Passenger train service on this line is limited, with only one train per day, local service 5828/5825, linking the city with Kashgar (8~ hours) and Ürümqi (~34 hours).
Regular bus services link Hotan with Kashgar. There is also an express bus to Aksu via the 430 km (270 mi) 'Hotan-Aksu Cross-Desert Highway' which was opened in 2007, travels alongside the intermittent Hotan River, and which takes about 5 or 6 hours. This same bus then goes on to Urumchi taking a total of about 21 hours from Hotan.
Chinese historical sources indicate that Hotan was the main source of the nephrite jade used in ancient China. For several hundred years, until they were defeated by the Xiongnu in 176 BCE, the trade of Khotanese jade into China was controlled by the nomadic Yuezhi. The Chinese still refer to the Yurungkash as the White Jade River, alluding to the white jade recovered from its alluvial deposits. The light coloured jade is called "Mutton fat" jade. Most of the jade is now gone, with only a few kilos of good quality jade found yearly. Some is still mined in the Kunlun Mountains to the south in the summer, but it is generally of poorer quality than that found in the rivers.
Khotanese textiles were mentioned by Xuanzang, who visited the oasis in 644 CE. In his Biography it is stated: "It produced carpets and fine felt, and the felt-makers also spun coarse and fine silk."
Ancient Chinese-Khotanese relations were so close that the oasis emerged as one of the earliest centres of silk manufacture outside China. There are good reasons to believe that the silk-producing industry flourished in Hotan as early as the 5th century. According to one story, a Chinese princess given in marriage to a Khotan prince brought to the oasis the secret of silk-manufacture, "hiding silkworms in her hair as part of her dowry", probably in the first half of the 1st century CE. It was from Khotan that the eggs of silkworms were smuggled to Iran, reaching Justinian I's Constantinople in 551. Silk production is still a major industry employing more than a thousand workers and producing some 150 million metres of silk annually. Silk weaving by Uyghur women is a thriving cottage industry, some of it produced using traditional methods. Hotan Silk Factory is one of the notable silk producers in Hotan.
Atlas is the fabric used for traditional Uyghur clothing worn by Uyghur women. It is soft, light and graceful tie-dyed silk fabric. It comes various colours, the brighter and rich colours are for small children to young ladies. The gray and dark colours are for elderly women.
The oldest piece of kilim which we have any knowledge was obtained by the archaeological explorer Aurel Stein; a fragment from an ancient settlement near Hotan, which was buried by sand drifts about the fourth century CE. The weave is almost identical with that of modern kilims.
The 2011 Hotan attack was a bomb-and-knife attack that occurred in Hotan, Xinjiang, China on July 18, 2011. According to witnesses, the assailants were a group of 18 young Uyghur men who opposed the local government's campaign against the burqa, which had grown popular among older Hotan women in 2009 but were also used in a series of violent crimes. The men occupied a police station on Nuerbage Street at noon, killing two security guards with knives and bombs and taking eight hostages. The attackers then yelled religious slogans, including ones associated with Jihadism, as they replaced the Chinese flag on top of a police station with another flag, the identity of which is disputed.
After a firefight with police around 1:30 p.m., 14 of the attackers were killed, and four were captured. Six of the hostages were rescued alive, while two were killed in the attack. Local and national governments said the attack was organized terrorism motivated by religious extremism, and found that two of the attackers have links to the militant East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). A team from China's counter-terrorism office was sent to Hotan to investigate the attack. ETIM acknowledged responsibility for the attack on September 8, as well as for the attacks in Kashgar later that same July. Six men were handed prison or death sentences for their involvement in both attacks later in September.Adil Nurmemet
Adil Nurmemet (born February 1968) is a former Chinese politician of Uighur ethnicity. He was the Mayor of Hotan, an important city in the Xinjiang interior, between 2009 and 2013. He was investigated by the Communist Party of China's anti-graft agency in October 2014.Aksai Chin
Aksai Chin (Chinese: 阿克赛钦; pinyin: Ākèsài Qīn; Uyghur: ﺋﺎﻗﺴﺎﻱ ﭼﯩﻦ; Hindi: अक्साई चिन) is a disputed border area between China and India. It is largely part of Hotan County, which lies in the southwestern part of Hotan Prefecture of Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China, with a small portion on the southeast and south sides lying within the extreme west of the Tibet Autonomous Region. But it is also claimed by India as a part of the Ladakh region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In 1962, China and India fought a brief war in Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, but in 1993 and 1996, the two countries signed agreements to respect the Line of Actual Control.China National Highway 217
China National Highway 217 (G217) runs south from Altay, Xinjiang to Hotan, Xinjiang. It is 1,753 kilometres in length and runs southwest from Altay towards Kuqa County and from there southwards through the Taklamakan Desert to Hotan.
The section between Dushanzi and Kuqa crosses the Tianshan Mountains and is commonly known as Duku Highway (独库公路).China National Highway 315
Constructed in 1954, the Qinghai-Xinjiang Highway, also known as the China National Highway 315 (G315) runs west from Xining, Qinghai towards Kashgar, Xinjiang. It is 3,063 kilometres (1,903 mi) in length. In 1994 the departments of communication and transportation in Qinghai and Xinjiang began the process of updating the highway. In the west it follows the desert Qaidam Basin south of the traditional Silk Road, crosses the Altyn-Tagh into Xinjiang, and then follows the south side of the Tarim Basin to Kashgar.G3012 Turpan–Hotan Expressway
The Turpan–Hotan Expressway (Chinese: 吐鲁番—和田高速公路, Uyghur: تۇرپان-خوتەن يۇقىرى سۈرئەتلىك تاشيولى), commonly referred to as the Tuhe Expressway (Chinese: 吐和高速公路), is a Chinese expressway that connects the G30 Lianyungang–Khorgas Expressway at Xiaocaohu, in Toksun County, Turpan, with China National Highway 315 in Lop County, Hotan Prefecture. The expressway, designated G3012, is a spur of the G30 Lianyungang–Khorgas Expressway and is completely in Xinjiang. It is 1,931 kilometres (1,200 mi) in length.
The expressway is fully complete from its northern terminus in Toksun to Yecheng and from Karakax County to its southern terminus in Lop County, Hotan. Only a section from Kargilik to Karakax County remains to be built. Eventually, the southern terminus will connect with the western end of the G0612 Xining–Hotan Expressway, which is currently in planning.Hotan Airport
Hotan Airport (Chinese: 和田机场; pinyin: Hétián Jīchǎng; Uyghur: خوتەن ئايرودرومى) (IATA: HTN, ICAO: ZWTN) is an airport serving Hotan, a city in the autonomous region of Xinjiang in China.Hotan County
Hotan County is a county in the southwest of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and is under the administration of the Hotan Prefecture. The southernmost county-level division of Xinjiang, it contains an area of 41,128 km2 (15,880 sq mi). According to the 2002 census, it has a population of 270,000. India claims a portion of Hotan County as Aksai Chin.Hotan Prefecture
Hotan Prefecture is located in the south-western part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, bordering the Tibet Autonomous Region to the south. It is sometimes (unofficially) spelled as Khotan.Jade
Jade refers to an ornamental mineral, mostly known for its green varieties. It can refer to either of two different minerals: nephrite, a silicate of calcium and magnesium, or jadeite, a silicate of sodium and aluminium.
Jade is featured prominently in ancient Asian art, but also has an important place in many other cultures.Karakax County
Moyu County (Chinese: 墨玉县) as the official romanized name, also transliterated from Uyghur as Karakax County (Uyghur: قاراقاش ناھىيىسى; Chinese: 喀拉喀什县), is a county in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and is located in the southern edge of Tarim basin, it is under the administration of the Hotan Prefecture. It contains an area of 25,667 km2 (9,910 sq mi). According to the 2011 census it has a population of 577,000 and 98,1% are Uyghurs.Kunyu, Xinjiang
Kunyu is a county-level city in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. It is geographically located in Hotan Prefecture of southern Xinjiang, but is directly administered by the Xinjiang regional government.The city was formerly the settled and cultivated areas of the 224th Regiment of the 14th Division of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC). In January 2016, the State Council of China approved the establishment of Kunyu City, and it was officially established on 26 February 2016. It covers an area of 687.13 square kilometres (265.30 sq mi), is located 78 kilometres (48 mi) from Hotan city, and is known for its Hotan dates.Lop County
Lop County is a county in the southwest of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and is under the administration of the Hotan Prefecture. It contains an area of 14,264 km2 (5,507 sq mi). According to the 2002 census, it has a population of 240,000.Minfeng County
Minfeng County (Chinese: 民丰县) as the official romanized name, also transliterated from Uyghur as Niya County (Uyghur: نىيە ناھىيىسى; Chinese: 尼雅县), is a county within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and is under the administration of the Hotan Prefecture. It contains an area of 56,726 km2 (21,902 sq mi). According to the 2002 census, it has a population of 30,000.The county seat is in the town of Niya, which is often referred to by the county name (Minfeng) as well. The Niya ruins are located 115 km north of Niya Town of this county.Pishan County
Pishan County (Chinese: 皮山县) as the official romanized name, also transliterated from Uyghur as Guma County (Uyghur: گۇما ناھىيىسى; Chinese: 固玛县), is a county within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and is under the administration of the Hotan Prefecture. It contains an area of 39,412 km2 (15,217 sq mi). According to the 2002 census, it has a population of 220,000. Pishan was the site of the 2011 Pishan hostage crisis.Qira County
Qira County, or Cele in Chinese, is a county within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and is under the administration of the Hotan Prefecture. It contains an area of 31,590 km2 (12,200 sq mi). According to the 2002 census, it has a population of 130,000.Tianjin Airlines Flight 7554
Tianjin Airlines Flight 7554 (Chinese: 天津航空公司GS7554; pinyin: Tiānjīn Hángkōng Gōngsī GS7554) was a scheduled passenger flight between Hotan and Ürümqi in China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The aircraft operating this route on 29 June 2012, an Embraer 190, took off from Hotan at 12:25 pm; within ten minutes, six ethnic Uyghur men, one of whom allegedly professed his motivation as jihad, announced their intent to hijack the aircraft, according to multiple witnesses. In response, passengers and crew resisted and successfully restrained the hijackers, who were armed with aluminum crutches and explosives.
The aircraft turned around and landed at 12:45 pm back in Hotan, where 11 passengers and crew and two hijackers were treated for injuries. Two hijackers died from injuries from the fight on board. The Xinjiang government classified the incident as terrorism. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) reviewed Hotan airport's security measures and airport security was escalated in Xinjiang. The incident marked the first serious hijacking attempt in China since 1990, and the first fatal hijacking or attempted hijacking since the September 11 attacks.Yutian Airport
Yutian Airport is an airport scheduled to be built in Yutian County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang, China. The construction budget is CN¥710 million.The airport will have a runway that is 3,200 metres (10,500 ft) long and 45 metres (148 ft) wide (class 4C), a 3,000-square-metre (32,000 sq ft) terminal building, and four aircraft parking aprons. It is designed to serve 180,000 passengers and 400 tons of cargo annually.Yutian County, Xinjiang
Yutian County (Chinese: 于田县) as the official romanized name, also transliterated from Uyghur as Keriya County (Uyghur: كېرىيە ناھىيىسى; Chinese: 克里雅县), is a county in Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. It contains an area of 39,023 km2 (15,067 sq mi). According to the 2002 census, it has a population of 220,000. Its government is located at Keriya Town.
|Climate data for Hotan (1971−2000)|
|Average high °C (°F)||0.8
|Average low °C (°F)||−9
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||1.6
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||2.0||1.7||0.7||1.1||1.9||2.6||2.9||1.8||0.8||0.3||0.3||1.2||17.3|
|Average relative humidity (%)||54||46||35||29||35||38||43||45||44||43||45||55||43|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||167.8||163.9||185.8||208.3||234.5||253.2||242.5||231.2||240.0||260.5||221.1||178.2||2,587|
|Percent possible sunshine||55||54||50||53||54||58||54||55||65||75||72||60||58|
|Source: China Meteorological Administration |
|County-level cities directly|
administered by XPCC