EN-Episode 79: Devil’s Town

Original audio (translated transcript below):

Hello everyone, I’m Kaycee.


Finally, I’m back. I’ve been on holiday for a while and I’ve been busy writing my thesis and moving, so I’ve missed out on recording the podcast. In the meantime, a lot of things happened, for example, Emma Raducanu won the US tennis tournament recently. I watched it and it was very good. But in this edition, I want to tell a different story, which is Devil’s Town.


Devil’s Town, it means a place where the devil lives. It sounds like a virtual story, doesn’t it? But it does exist. Devil City, also known as the Windy City of Urho, is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. From a distance, it really is spectacular. Think about it, there is nothingness all around, it’s very quiet and there is all dry, cracked yellow earth underfoot. In the middle there are hills which have been blown by the wind over the years into oddly shaped buildings. Some look like the Six Harmonies Pagoda on the banks of the Qiantang River in Hangzhou, some like the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, some like the pyramids of Egypt, some like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, some like an eagle spreading its wings. There are all sorts of shapes.
There is a legend about this place. The men were handsome and strong, the women were beautiful and kind, and the people worked hard and lived a carefree life with plenty of food and clothing. However, with the accumulation of wealth, evil took over the hearts and minds of the people. They began to indulge in fun and drink, and as they fought for their wealth, the city was filled with deceit and bloodshed, and everyone’s face became hideous. The gods came to the castle in the form of a ragged beggar to raise the conscience of the people. The god told the people that it was evil that had turned him from a rich man into a beggar, but instead of the beggar’s words, he was abused and ridiculed by the people of the castle. In his anger the gods turned the place into ruins, and all the people of the castle were crushed under the ruins. Every night, the souls of the dead wailed inside the castle, hoping that the gods would hear their voices of repentance.


So the legend goes. In fact, the place is right at the mouth of the wind, with constant gusts of wind in all seasons, up to a maximum of 10-12. The sound of the wind weaving and reverberating through the hills does also resemble the sound of wolves howling and tigers whistling. On moonlit nights, it does sound a little scary too.
But what is even more amazing is that, according to official testimony, if we go back 2 million years. 2 million years ago ha. This used to be a very large lake with lush vegetation growing on its shores. After two major crustal shifts, the lake turned into a vast desert, strewn with sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. After thousands of years of wind and rain, the ground formed gullies of varying depths and the exposed rock layers were sculpted into strange shapes by the fierce winds, creating the Devil’s Castle we see today.


The local Mongolians call this city “Surumukhak”. The Uyghurs call it “Shaitankersi”, which means “Devil City”. This is how the Devil’s Town got its name. Due to its unique scenery, many films have used it as a location, such as the Oscar-winning film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. More and more tourists are also coming here to visit and explore.


So this place is interesting and unique in many ways. I just wanted to share it with you.


Well, that’s all for this issue. See you next time.

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