The most interesting and mysterious city on the Silk Road is Kroraina, which disappeared abruptly in the fourth century. At the beginning of the century, a foreign explorer found the ancient city under the sand by chance. Since then a great number of valuable relics, which displayed its prosperous past, were unearthed.
The ancient city of Kroraina covers an area of 108.240 square meters. The highest building, the 10.4 meter high pagoda, stands in the east of the city. A square dominates the center of the town. On the western slop are three rooms with one room in front of them on each side. These rooms were built with wood and earth. The high logs reveal their brilliant past. In the relics, wooden tablets, and paper documents were found. These rooms are said to have been the seat of the local government.
At the heart of Kroraina the ground is scattered with flint implements, bronze mirrors, coins of the Han Dynasty and Kusana Dynasty (now Afghanistan) and glass fragments imported from the western world. The wooden tablet inscribed in the ancient Qulu Languange and the paper documents, showed that other peoples used to live here. The ancient tombs around Kroraina are quite unique. In a tomb are 8 or 12 skeletons, who were probably soldiers stationed there. A mummified corpse, who was a young girl, was also unearthed.
Historical documents and archaeological findings show that Kroraina in the Han Dynasty was a rich Kingdom. Envoys from Chang'an, Darouzhi, Anse, Dayuan and Kangju would stop here and replenish provision after a long and hard journey in the isolate desert. At a certain period, the Xiongnus would come and impose camels, horses, cattle and sheep. Furthermore every year Kroraina would also receive envoys and business groups of about 500 to 2.000 persons from the Han. For a small kingdom located in deep desert like Kroraina, it was really a heavy burden. Later on, Kroraina people became impatient. Some of them even robbed the envoys from the Han. In order to protect the Silk Road, Wu Di of the Han Dynasty sent troops to Kroraina, and caught the Kroraina King, who surrendered to the Han. However, Kroraina was fairly afraid of the Xiongnus too. He made his two sons hostages in the Han and Xiongnus respectively. After the death of Kroraina king, the Xiongnu escorted the Kroraina prince back to his homeland. Since then Kroraina subjected to the Xiongnus and adopted a hostile attitude towards the Han government, which sent Fu Jiezi to kill Chang Gui, the Kroraina King, fifteen years later, and made the prince who used to be the hostage in the Han, king of Kroraina. After that, Kroraina was changed as Shanshan and moved its capital to now Ruoqing area. The wooden tablets found in Kroraina proved that it used to be the seat of the General of the Western Regions in the Wei and Jin periods. Later, the ancient Kroraina died gradually.