Shipton's Arch (تۆشۈك تاش, 天门), China

World / Asia / China


Shipton's Arch is believed to be the tallest natural arch in the world. It is located to the west-northwest of Kashgar, in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The arch is known in the local Uyghur as Töshük Tash, meaning Hole Rock, and in Chinese as Tiānmén, or Heavenly Gate.

Shipton's Arch
Shipton's Arch
Author: LoudNotes (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

The English name Shipton's Arch was given after English mountaineer Eric Shipton, who visited the arch in 1947, and made it known in the west, in his book Mountains of Tartary. The arch was once listed in the Guinness Book of Records, but dropped when editors of the book were unable to verify its location.

It was only in May 2000 that a National Geographic-sponsored expedition rediscovered the arch to outsiders. Since then, Shipton's Arch has become a local tourist attraction in Kashgar.

The height of Shipton's Arch is believed to be 1,200 feet, the same as that of the Empire State Building. However, the actual height of the arch is open to debate, depending on the direction of view. The base of the arch is dependent on whether the 100-foot pile of rubble under it is included, or the canyon floor which is 900 feet lower.

Planning your trip to Shipton's Arch

A trip to Shipton's Arch takes about two to three hours. Half the journey is on dirt track.

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