Tianshan Mountain runs through the central Xinjiang with a total length of 1,760 km, an area of more than 570,000 square kilometers, and accounting for 1/3 of the total area of Xinjiang. The southern and northern slopes of Tianshan Mountain distributed many Grand Canyons of variety of scenery.
Tianshan Grand Canyon is located in the southern foot of Tianshan Mountain, also known as Kuqa Grand Canyon. The film "Lord of the Ring messenger" had come here to Film scenes. The Grand Canyon located 70km from Kuqa County and drive along the Autonomous Highway. When you see the roadside mountain turns red, then came to Tianshan Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is a north-south curve, consisting of the main valley and seven canyons, with a depth of 7.5 kilometers and a widest point of 53 meters. The narrowest point is 0.4 meters with an average altitude of 1,600 meters and the highest elevation is 2,048 meters.
The discovery of Tianshan Grand Canyon was like a legendary story. In July 1999, a Uighur herdsman in Ah-ai village, Kuqa County, climbed up the mountain to pick herbs and inadvertently come to a canyon.
When he climbed on the mountainside, a heavy rain storm suddenly hit the valley. The constant roar of ridges and flash floods fill the valley. In the dilemma, he saw the cave not far from the cliff. To avoid the rain, he climbed to the cave, and move away accumulated dirt, climbed in. It was a cave covered with beautiful murals.
Back home from the canyon, he immediately reported to the government. But he did not aware that he opened a millennium secret. After the relevant experts research, the cave was built in the mid-Tang Dynasty, dating back more than 1,300 years ago. Grottoes have 218 beautiful Kizil murals. Because here is close to Ah-ai village, hence named Ah-ai Caves.
Ah-ai Grottoes is 4.6 meters long from north to south, 3.5 meters wide, with an area of 16 square meters, built on mountain 30 meters high from ground . Today, the grottoes have been protected, declined to visit. For thousands of years this mysterious canyon sleeps in quietness in the mountains without any disturbing. Since then, Tianshan Grand Canyon and Ah-ai Grotto have been slowly coming into view.
The huge red mountain range of the Grand Canyon was formed in the Mesozoic Cretaceous 140 million years ago. It is composed of red sandstone and glutenite. In the strongly rising geological structure of Tianshan Mountains, these red rock have formed all kinds of wrinkles bending, coupled with the erosion of water and wind, forming criss-cross, stacked layers of ridge and trench.
In 2005, Kuqa Tianshan Grand Canyon was named as one of the ten most beautiful gorges in the world by National Geographic Magazine. Unesco visited the Grand Canyon twice. October 23, 2005, Kuqa Tianshan Grand Canyon was named one of China's most beautiful ten canyons. In 2013, the Kuqa Tianshan Grand Canyon was awarded the National Geopark.