Located about two hours' drive east of Dunhuang, the oasis of Anxi today is famous for its melons.  The location historically is a strategic one, since the route to the north of the Taklamakan branched off here, and another important road led south toward the Yulin caves and beyond to the mountains. The importance of Anxi is attested by the Han-era ruins in the vicinity.  Just to the west of the town, on the outskirts of the oasis, can be seen some very extensive Han ruins, which probably were a garrison-supply center similar to that located at Yümen Guan.