Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which is located in the heart of the Eurasian Continent, was known as the Western Regions in ancient times. It borders upon Mongolia, Russia. Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Tajikstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, covering an area of 1.66 million sq. Km, about one-sixth of the national total. The silk Road in Xinjiang was divided into three routes: the southern, the middle and the northern. Along the 2,000 km Silk Routes there are numerous ruins of ancient cities, beacon towers and cultural relics. Lining the routes are many important cities including Urumqi, Turpan, Kashi, Kuqa. Hotan and Taxkorgan. Xinjiang is a multi-national region marked by distinctive features of both spoken and written languages, music and dancing, and customs of the ethnic minorities in accordance with their different background of history and civilization and religious beliefs.
The Regional capital of Xinjiang and also a communications hub. The city links Moscow, Novosibirsk. Tashkent, Alma-Ata and Islamabad by international airlines, and 22 major Chinese cities including Shanghai, Guangzhou, XiĄŻan and Lanzhou as well as 11 Regional cities by domestic air routes. Major scenic spots in the vicinity are the Baiyang Gully in the Nanshan Mountain, Tianchi Lake on the snow-clad Mount Bogda and the No.1 Glacier.
(see also Four-day Urumqi Tour)
Turpan-the Fiery Land
A depression enclosed by mountains in eastern Xinjiang, also called Gushi in ancient times. In the center of the Turpan Depression is the Aydingkol Lake which is 154 m below sea level, second only to the Dead Sea in Jordan, lowest in the world. The mean temperature there all-year-round is 12.1 degrees to 14.9 degrees Centigrade, and in the sweltering summer days it rises up to 40 degrees C, with a ground temperature as high as 80 degrees C. Hence the name the Ą°fiery LandĄ±. As an important post on the northern route of the age-old Silk Road, Turpan has now many spots of interest such as the ancient cities of Gaochang and Jiashe, Bezeklik Thousand-Buddha Caves, Emin Minaret, grape Valley, and Karez wells.
For the King of Gaochang during his pilgrimage to India for Buddhist scriptures. Gaochagn city consists of three parts: the outer city, the inner city and the palace city. The city walls are fairly well preserved and some other remains can still be seen.