Jiaohe is probably the
largest, oldest and best-preserved earth-built city in the world. About 100BC it became the capital of the Cheshi kingdom and then seats of various provinical governments. Unusually it has no walls, which were not needed given its position on cliffs overlooking two rivers. With a population of maybe 7,000 plus around 850 soldiers it had a turbulent history until it was abandoned after destructive Mongol invasions in the C14th. The desert climate means many of its structures have survived

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