Urumqi, meaning “beautiful pastureland” in the Mongolian language, is the capital city of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and it is the farthest city away from oceans among all the inland cities in the world.
The Urumqi River flows through the city from north to south. It is flanked by Hongshan Mountain and Yamalik Mountain on the east and west. During the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) the central government sent garrison troops to reclaim land and grow food grain in Xinjiang.
During the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907), the central government built a city wall at Urumqi and gradually the city became a vital point on the northern route of the Silk Road. The city was destroyed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It was rebuilt in 1763 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. Several hundred years later, the once picturesque pastureland has become a metropolis with streets lined with modern high buildings and bustling commercial establishments. Today, Urumqi is the political, economic, transportation and cultural center of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
With a population of two million gaily-dressed ethnic inhabitants, the Urumqi city is likened to a piece of emerald embedded at the foot of the Tianshan Mountains. It lies in the lofty ice-capped Bogda Peak and vast Salt Lake in the east; in the rolling pine-covered Southern hill, a well-known scenic district, in the south; and in the alternating fields and sand dunes of Zunggar Basin in the northwest.
Tourist resources of Urumqi have its own advantages and distinctions, which are strategically important in the ancient Silk Road that assembles the cultures of both eastern and western countries. The most famous tourist spots among the numerous cultural relics and natural landscapes include the Heavenly Lake, the Southern Pastures, the Red Hill, the Southern Mosque, the Tartar Mosque, and the Xinjiang Regional Museum and so on.
In recent years, the city of Urumqi has continuously developed its economy, culture as well as tourism and transportation. More choices for accommodation and dining, ranging from luxury hotels to budget hostels and from western restaurants to the local food street have been established. Nightlife in Urumqi provides multiple-range of choices such as watching the ethnic sing-and-dance show, tasting native delicacies in the night market, or simply hanging out in bars. Coming to Urumqi will not let you return to your country empty-handed. Shopping in the International Grand Bazaar is a pleasant experience. Bargain hunting for handicraft souvenirs such as rugs, carpets, Uygur-style hats, knitted sweaters, ethnic costumes, hand-made embroideries and jade carvings, will definitely draw your intense interest.
The temperature in Urumqi widely ranges between day and night as it belongs to the semi-arid continental climate of middle temperate zone. The climate is ring and autumn; and longer winter and summer. May to October is the golden season for traveling to Urumqi, when flowers are in full bloom and the fruits, like extremely arid due to long period of sunlight and bare precipitation. It has shorter spring and autumn; and longer winter and summer.
As the capital of Xinjiang Province located in the western-most part of China, The people here look more Arabic than Chinese perhaps because of the area’s proximity to the Arab countries. Tall, deep-round eyes, pointy noses even their language is obviously different from Chinese. Much of the writings on the road signs and billboards are in Arabic. The name Urumqi, by the way, is a Mongolian word for beautiful pastures.