Located in the tableland of Munag village of Putao Town, 2 km east of Turpan City, the Ermin Tower is an ancient Islamic tower with unique style. Every year, a great number of people come here for visit or worship. Emin Minaret is the largest extant old tower in Xinjiang; it is the only Islamic tower among the hundred famous towers in China.
As the largest ancient tower in Xinjiang, Ermin Tower was built in 1778 and has a history of over 200 years. In memory of achievements made by his father and as an expression of his loyalty to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Suman, the chief of the Turpan Prefecture and the second son of Ermin Hoja who was a famous general of the Qing Dynasty, spent 7000 liang (in Chinese) of silver on his own and built the Ermin Tower. The minaret is built with his own money, this is the reason why the minaret is also named Su Gong Ta. Upon Emin's death, Suman inherited his father's rank and became the second Turpan ruler. Emin Khoja is a heroic Turpan general, local muslim ruler. He was an outstanding patriot who defended the unification of China throughout his life. He had eight sons but the eldest son died of illness at a young age. Influenced by Emin, all his remaining sons made contributions during the war against Jungar rebellions.
At the entrance to the minaret, two steles were set up. On one is a Chinese inscription which explains that the purpose of building the minaret was to show gratitude to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and to commemorate exploits of Emin Khoja while the Uigur inscription on the other stele gave thanks to Allah.
The historical background of Emin Minaret is underlined by the architectural significance. The 44-meter (144 feet) high minaret has no stories. From the base with a diameter of 10 meters (32.8 feet), the minaret tapers to an Islamic dome. In the center of the minaret is a brick-piled pillar with 72 steps around it spiraling to the top. There are 14 openings for ventilation and lighting which are located in different directions and at various heights. On the top, there is an attic of 10 square meters (107 square feet) with large windows on the four sides through which the marvelous landscape could be admired. Unfortunately, tourists today cannot climb to the top due to the protection given to the minaret. But you can view the surroundings from the roof of the mosque. But the Tianshan Mountains, the Flaming Mountain and the Grape Valley in north direction, and the civilian houses in west direction will be in the sight of the climber. It is a post and panel structure with 14 square windows for day lighting and ventilation. As for the mosque, although it is rather bare inside, services are held every Friday and on holidays.
However, the unique exterior of the minaret will make up for this lack. The huge column made of grey bricks and earth would be dull if not for its decorative patterns. Smart Uigur architects used bricks to form 15 different patterns such as waves, flowers or rhombuses. What's more, the architects even took the surroundings into consideration. Set against the azure sky, silvery Tianshan Mountain and the scarlet Flaming Mountain, Emin Minaret displays a pristine but dignified air. Only when you look up at the minaret will you find how crystal blue and high the sky of Turpan is!
Right beside the minaret stands Su Gong Ta Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Xinjiang. The grand mosque can accommodate 1000 people despite the inconspicuous appearance. The idea behind this is also intriguing; the mosque is neither so glaring as to defeat the minaret nor too humble as it is a worship center. The circular Emin Minaret and the square mosque are in sharp contrast without losing harmony.
China tours inclusive of visiting Emin Minaret, Turpan