The Taklamakan Desert is the second largest sand desert on the planet. Their area of 340,000 km² is covered for the most part with over 100 m high dunes. The strong winds allow these dunes to migrate very quickly. The dunes were formed by dust and sand deposits of the last ice age in the Taklamakan desert almost entirely from a lake in glacier melt water (glacier lake) of the surrounding high mountains was covered. Due to its climate, the Taklamakan was inaccessible for a long time.
The tracks of the former Silk Road are now asphalted roads, on which the entire desert can be traversed. On the north route of the Silk Road is today the road 314, on the south route the road 315, the east connection of both roads forms the road 218. Along these roads, on the edge of the Tarim Basin are oasis towns such as Hotan, Kashgar and Aksu.
The oases are supplied with water by melting water from the surrounding high mountains. With a size of around 340,000 square kilometers, the Taklamakan Desert has about 3/4 the size of Germany. The desert is about 1,300 kilometers long and about 450 kilometers wide.
On the north side of the Taklamakan Desert is the Tian Shan Mountain which forms a natural border with Kyrgyzstan. Cross the Silk Road, across the Gobi Desert and on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert to the extreme north-western border of China, to Kashgar. Kashgar is located on the border with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Kashgar is also referred to as the largest "hub of the Silk Road". As the largest oasis city in China, it is surrounded by the Taklamakan Desert in the east, the Tian Shan Mountains in the north, the Pamir Mountains in the west and the Kunlun Massif in the south.