Astana means Capital in Turki language because it was near the capital of Gaochang Kingdom in the history. It is an ancient public cemetery near the ruin of Gaochang in Turpan. The cemetery convers about 10 square km, and mainly buries Han Chinese here from 3rd to 8th century during Gaochang Kingdom.
The tombs were stolen many times in the history, and excavated after 1950 by archeologists. Because of the rich relics in the tombs, the Cemetery was named after Astana Underground Museum. Sculptures, mummies. paintings, figurines, potteries, ceramics etc. were excavated in the tombs and displayed in Turpan Museum and Xinjiang Museum, which proved the splendid history in the Silk Road in Turpan.
About 80% bodies were dried up to be the mummies resulted from the dry climate. Visitors can visit three tombs, in which there are 2 mummies, colorful tomb paintings etc. Zhangxiong was a general that was buried here, and discovered later. His mummy is housed in Xinjiang Museum.
There are few travelers to the Astana Ancient Tombs. Actually it is worth visiting.
Entrance fee is CNY40.