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Xinjiang

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region covers over 1,600,000 square kilometers (617,763 square miles), one-sixth of China's total territory, making it China's largest province. Xinjiang borders Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. With a population of over 19 million, Xinjiang is home to 47 ethnic groups including the Uygur, the major ethnic group in Xinjiang.

When to go

Xinjiang has a desert climate with a low annual rainfall of only 150 millimeters (6 inches). Winters are very cold and summers extremely hot. The best time to visit this province is in autumn, when the days are long, the sky is clear and temperatures more bearable than in the heat of the summer. Another excellent reason to visit at that time is the abundance of delicious melons and other fruits and vegetables which are then available.

History

Xinjiang has a long history. The area was called Xiyu in ancient China which means "West Region". It was plundered by the Huns before the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). During the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD), Xinjiang was treated as an integral part of the nation's territory. Since then, Xinjiang was governed by all successive dynasties.

What to see

Superlatives are often used when describing Xinjiang: It is the most arid province; also contains the hottest and the coldest places; the longest inland river, the Tarim; the lowest marsh, the Aydingkol Lake (Moonlight Lake) in the Turpan Basin; the largest inland lake and the largest desert. In Xinjiang tourists can visit the world-famous Yardang Spectacle in Korla, stone forests, enjoy the mystery of the desert with its spectacular sand mountains. The ancient Silk Road brought Xinjiang a mix of eastern and western cultures which left behind stunning relics. Today, those ancient cities, caves, temples and tombs attract countless tourists from home and abroad.

While you are visiting Xinjiang, it is important to be aware of the time zone being used. Although officially run on Beijing time, Xinjiang people also use their own system. If Beijing time is used it means that the sun doesn't raise until 9am and it is still light at midnight in the summer months. When making travel arrangements, be sure which time zone or system is being used or you could get caught out.

Grape Valley The Grape Valley is situated in a canyon, west side of Fire Mountain and 15 km northeast of the seat of Turpan County¡­

Sugong Tower The Su Gong Tower (Sugong Tower, Su Gong Ta) located in the central area of Xinjiang Province, is about 2 kilometers from the Turphan City¡­

Karez Well Karez Well is a kind of underground water works invented and built by laboring people of various ethnic groups in our country to adapt to the natural environment in dry region¡­

The Astana-Karakhoja Ancient Tombs The Astana-Karakhoja Ancient Tombs are part of the Underground Museum of Turpan and the Living Archives of Gaochang¡­

Gaochang Ancient City The Ancient City of Gaochang is 47km (29 miles) southeast of Turpan. Originally built as a garrison in the 2nd century BC¡­

Thousand Buddha Caves of Tuyuq Valley The Bezeklik Thousand-Buddha Caves contain 67 caves, noted for their exquisite murals dating from the Northern and Southern dynasties (AD 317 - 589) to the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)...

Turpan This magical and fertile, ancient and yet young Treasure Land is the world-famous western region city of Turpan¡­

Mount Nan Pasture Towards the south of Urumqi City, the Nanshan Pasture is located in Kelawucheng Mountain, a branch of north Heavenly Mountain¡­

Heavenly Lake The Heavenly Lake (Tianchi Lake) is situated to the east of the Tianshan Mountain range, north of Bogda Peak, 97 km south of Urumuqi¡­

Flaming Mountains The Flaming Mountain is very popular thanks to a classical novel, The Journey to the West by the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) writer, Wu Cheng'en and its charming hero-- The Monkey King.

 

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