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Xinjiang Travel Guide

Xinjiang is located at the North - western part of China. It covers 1.66 million sq kilometers, consisting one sixth of China's total land area, and the biggest province or autonomous region in the country.

Xinjiang borders eight countries. They are Russia, Outer Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Tadzhikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Xinjiang has the longest boundary line in China over 5600km. It became a gateway to international trade in Western China, by 2005, Xinjiang had 17 Category –A ports approved by the State Council.

Xinjiang is the home of 47 nationalities; among them 13 are the main nationalities, such as Uighur, Han, Hui, Tartars, Tajik, Uzbek, Kazak, Kirghiz, Mongolians, Russians, Dawur, Xibe and Manchu. The diversity, openness, and integration of different ethnic cultures have made Xinjiang's culture what it is today. The main religion here is Islam, there are now 10 ethnic groups believe in Islamism.

Xinjiang has a long history, was once known as Xiyu (means The Western Region). Between 3rd and 2nd century BC, 36 tribes flourished north and south of the Heavenly Mountains. Historically they were known as the 36 Western Region states. In the 2nd century BC The Huns controlled the Western Region and became a threat to the Han Dynasty. Emperor Wudi sent Zhangqian twice as his envoy to the Western Regions, established their ally and defeated the Huns. In 60 BC, Emperor Xuandi posted a high commissioner to Luntai to be in charge of local affairs, and the region officially became part of China. In 1884 Qing Dynasty designated it a province.

Historical and cultural tourism in Xinjiang is the most attractive for its unique charm. The world-famous Silk Road runs across Xinjiang, leaving a great number of historical and cultural treasures which attracting the visitors from all over the world. Xinjiang is endowed with 236 ancient cultural sites, tombs, architectures, Buddhist caves, stone sculptures, and modern commemorative monuments of historical, artistic, and scientific value. The region has established 22 nature reserves.

Xinjiang has long been known as "a land of song and dance." Singing and dancing are integral parts of the local life and have been around for centuries. Influenced by the ancient Silk Road civilizations and the exchange and integration of the Eastern and Western cultures, song-and-dance styles in the region have developed their own unique charm and stand out as sparkling jewels among all song-and-dance arts across China.

The Uygurs in Xinjiang are especially known for their skill in singing and dancing. On festive days and at gatherings of friends and relatives, the Uygurs love to sing and dance. Their lively dances demonstrate diligence, bravery, openness and optimism.

Xinjiang is situated in the hinterland of Euroasian continent, with Altay Mountains in the north, Kunlun Mountains in the south and the Tianshan (Heavenly Mountains) in the middle. Geographically The Tianshan Mountains divided the region into two- the Southern and The Northern Xinjiang. The Southern Xinjiang is mainly desert, but it's full of natural gas and oil. Taklamakan Desert- the biggest shifting desert in China is located in the center of the Tarim Basin. The Northern Xinjiang is mainly grassland, and the hills are tree-covered. It's the home of nomadic Kazak and the Mongolian people.

Most part of Xinjiang have more sunny days, the Annual sunshine is about 3000 hours per year. Thus there are hundreds of sweet fruits such as grape, water melon, Hami Melon (Honey due Melon), apple, fragrant pear, apricot, peach, pomegranate, cherry, walnut and fig.

Xinjiang is a treasure land, vast in territory and rich in natural resources. There are now 127 proven underground minerals, among which the reserves of petroleum, coal and the rare metals are of the largest amount.

Xinjiang has 11 airports, both newly built and enlarged, with international air routes connecting Urumqi with Alma-Ata, Tashkent, Moscow and Islamabad, as well as chartered flights to Hong Kong and Korea. In all, there are 92 air lines radiating from Urumqi to 65 cities in other parts of the country and abroad and to 12 prefectures and cities within the autonomous region. The total length of the air routes is 161,800 km.

Xinjiang has witnessed a drastic change in the communications and transport industry. The Lanzhou-Xinjiang Railway was buily in 1960ies. It was the 1st railway line in the region. The 480-km-long western section of the Southern Xinjiang Railway, from Turpan to Korla, was opened to traffic in 1984. It's extended to Kasghar, the historical city located at the western end of China, at the end of 1990. Northern Xinjiang Railway started from Urumqi reached to Almaty through the Alataw Pass, thus the second Eurasian Continental Bridge is linked.

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