Tarim Basin, a large area of low-lying land in Xinjiang province in China. It is some 800 miles (1,300 km) long and about half as wide and is enclosed by high mountains including the Tien Shan, Kunlun Shan, and Altun Shan ranges. Most of the basin is occupied by the Taklimakan Desert. The climate of the basin is extremely dry, with long, cold winters and hot summers.

Numerous rivers flow from the mountains, but most of them soon vanish or dry up in the interior. The largest is the Tarim River, which flows eastward along the northern edge of the Taklimakan to the marshy Lop Lake. Along the edge of the basin are cities linked by ancient caravan routes.