xinjiang1.jpg - 11858 Bytes Situated at the foot of the Tien Shan mountains, Urumqi is city that is the most distant from the sea.

Today's Urumqi is an industrialized city. There isn't much to see in the city of Urumqi. Tourist attractions are all out of city limits.
Urumqi City Ratings
** The following ratings are based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best.
History(5) Art(4) Local Culture/Unique Tour(6)
Nature/Scenic(8) Food/Shopping(6) Night Life(4)
Religion(6) Adventure/Sports(6) Reasonable Cost(8)
Recommended Days of Stay: 1 Urumqi City Map

Quick Facts
Population - 1.6 million
People - Uygur, Han, Kazak, Mongolian, and Hui
When to go
Tourist Season - May to September;
Coldest Months - December, with temperature as low as -41.5C;
Hottest Months - August, with temperature as high as 40.9C;
Annual Precipitation - 200 - 800 millimeters
Getting In and Out
By Air - Urumqi is 3.5 hours away by air from Beijing, three hours from Lanzhou and 4.5 hours from Shanghai. Direct flights are available to 38 Chinese cities and a few former Soviet Union cities;

By Train - It takes 61 hours to get to Urumqi from Beijing (4,000 km) and 74 hours from Shanghai, the longest train ride in China.


Urumqi, which means 'beautiful pastures' in Mongolian is not a city with a very long history of significance. During the Tang dynasty, it was merely an en-route stop to the administrative center of the region at Jimusar. In 1884, Urumqi became the capital of Xinjiang. Muslim rebellions were common.

It was controlled by various warlords since the overthrow of Qing Dynasty. The most notorious of them all was Yang Zhengxin, who had a habit of inviting his enemies and beheading them.

Perhaps the often-cited description of the town by Cable and French best summarizes the characteristics of the city, "The town has no beauty, no style, no dignity and no architectural interest. The climate is violently exaggerated and at no season pleasant."

Xinjiang Provincial Musum * * *
This museum is large and rich with interesting relics. One of the must see exhibits is one that's related to the area's five ethnic minorities. Another fascinating new display is the Xinjiang Ancient Corpse Exhibition. It now has about 10-15 bodies with English captions explaining where they came from.

Tian Chi (Heavenly Lake)* * * *
Tian Chi means heavenly lake. It is 3.2 miles long and 300 feet deep, located high up in the snowy peaks, 75 miles from Urumqi at twice its elevation. The lake lies in scenery reminiscent of the Swiss Alps with steep green pastures, conifer forests and snowy mountain peaks above.

It is a beautiful place to take a stroll around and forget about the tedious things down there in the real world. For the more adventure-minded people, treks in the mountains can be arranged with the locals with white horses.

Food/ Shopping
This restaurant serves excellent Muslim food in a great atmosphere.



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