Turpan is the second lowest piece of land on the planet, about 500 feet below sea level. It is also one of the hottest places. In August, when I first visited the area, noon time highs were around 120°. The surfaces of the rock that had been in the sun were closer to 170°. But the Uighur people of the region simply take long siestas through the worst heat.

Photos in this gallery are from the Flaming Mountains near the Buddhist cave temples at Bezelik, the Emin Mosque, the ruins of Jiahe and of local Uighur's suited up for tourists like me.