Surrounded by sand

Yueya Quan or Crescent Lake is an oasis on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert in western China – a pretty puddle on the old Silk Road.

Yueya Quan or Crescent Lake is an oasis on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert in western China
© PhotoElite/Shutterstoc

Water, at last! For centuries, caravans traveling along the Silk Road that stretched between East Asia and the Mediterranean would stop here at Yueya Quan (Moon Crescent Spring) to quench their thirst. The oasis is surrounded by dunes up to 300 meters high, and back in the 1960s, the natural lake had a maximum depth of 7.5 meters. In subsequent years, the water level began falling so dramatically that the popular tourist attraction looked set to dry out, but in 2006, the Chinese authorities filled it up again.