Emin Minaret (Su Gong Ta)
Emin Minaret is the largest extant old tower in Xinjiang; it is the only Islamic tower among the hundred famous towers in China.
Standing 2 km (1.24 miles) east of Turpan, Emin Minaret was built in 1777 in honor of the heroic Turpan general, Emin Khoja. 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. It was Suleman, Emin"s second son, that built this minaret with his own money. This is the reason why the minaret is also named Su Gong Ta. Upon Emin"s death, Suleman inherited his father"s rank and became the second Turpan ruler.
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.
Emin Minaret with Islamic Style
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.
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!
Tower with the Islamic Style
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.