The Flaming Mountains is situated on the northern edge of the Turpan Basin in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The mountains are an average 500 meters above sea level, with the highest being 850 meters. Along the Turpan-Shanshan road there is about a hundred-kilometer chain of red mountains, which stretch in an east-west direction, with a width of about 10 kilometers from south to north.
The barren mountains are mainly composed of red sandstone. In the severe heat of summer, the mountains seem to be on fire in the burning sun and become a purplish-brown color, and the red sandstone gives out red light just like fire, hence the name of Flaming Mountains. The Flaming Mountains are very popular thanks to a classical novel - The Journey to the West - by the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) writer, Wu Cheng’en, and its charming hero - the Monkey King. In the legend, it is said the Monkey King stirred up trouble in Heaven and was kicked off the oven for making immortal pills. Charcoals fell from the sky to where the Flaming Mountains now lie - in the middle of the Turpan Basin. The story of Golden Monkey King borrowed the palm-leaf fan three times to put down the flame adds charm and mystery of the Flaming Mountain. Nowadays, a huge plaster statue of the four people is standing near the Flaming Mountain, which occupies 3,000 square meters.