Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China

By | July 19, 2022

The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) is known as the land of songs and dances, the land of fruits and the land of precious stones. XUAR is one of the most attractive places for travelers and tourists, replete with amazing landscapes, ancient monuments of the “Silk Road” and colorful national customs. The territory of the region is divided in half by the Tien Shan Range. On the vast territory of the XUAR, a variety of natural landmarks are collected: impregnable peaks of Pamir, Kunlun, Tien Shan and Altai covered with eternal snow; deep valleys overgrown with lush green vegetation; the boundless expanse and desertion of the Tarim and Dzhungar lowlands; numerous oases living a vibrant life on the outskirts of the deserts. The valley of the Ili River, where a fertile climate with an abundance of rain, can compete with the southern Chinese provinces in terms of the richness of the plant world. Turpan – perhaps the hottest place in China – is known as the “land of fire”. XUAR has rich resources for ecotourism and mountaineering.

According to Directoryaah, Urumqi is the administrative center of the XUAR. The city is located in the northern foothills of the Tien Shan. Worth visiting in Urumqi are the Tianshan Wild Animal Zoo, the largest of its kind in the country, and the Grand Bazaar, the quintessential culture of the Xinjiang Uyghur region.

The Xinjiang Uyghur region was an important area on the Silk Road. On the territory of the XUAR, it was divided into three branches: Northern, Central and Southern. The northern route passed along the route along the northern foot of the Tien Shan: Aturyuk (Hami) – Fuyuan (Jimsar) – Yining and then reached the Caspian Sea. The central route ran along the southern slope of the Tien Shan along the route: Gvaochan (Turfan) – Yanqi – Qiuqi (Kucha) – Shule (Kashi), then crossed the Pamir. The southern route passed from Dunhuang along the northern slope of the Kunlun Range along the route: Charlyk – Khotan – Yarkand, then through the pass it entered the Pamir plateau. The main points on the “Silk Road” visited by tourists are Turfan, Jimsar, Kashi, Ili Valley.

Turpan was the first important point on the Central branch of the Silk Road. In ancient times, he was much more famous in the world than today. Among the numerous historical monuments of Turfan in the first place is the ancient settlement of Jiaohe (Mesopotamia), located 10 km west of the city. In the eastern suburbs of Turfan, there are the Gaochang ancient settlement, the Astana graves and the Baytsyklik caves of a thousand Buddhas. Tourists coming to Turfan are definitely recommended to see the Imin Minaret within the city.

The county town of Jimsar in ancient times was no less famous than Turfan. The city was also known under the names “Tingzhou”, “Beiting”, “Beshbari”. The ancient settlement of Beitin is located 12 km north of Jimsar, on a steppe plain. The settlement has a rectangular shape and is divided into two parts: the inner and outer city. Details of the decoration of the walls, corner towers and the remains of the city gates have been preserved. At a distance of one km to the west of the settlement are the ruins of the Temple of Sidasa from the time of the Uighur Khaganate. The temple was built in the form of an ensemble closed on all sides, in which there was a main pavilion, an auxiliary pavilion, paving for monks, a warehouse and a courtyard. The height of the main pavilion is 14.3 m. On both sides of the main pavilion, on its northern side, there are niches carved into the rock in two tiers with images of saints. Painted clay statues of Buddhas and frescoes have been preserved in the temple of Sidasa.

In ancient times it was called Kashgar and was the most important point and collection and distribution trade center on the “Silk Road”. And it currently trades with Central, Western and South Asia. To this day, the Grand Bazaar continues to exist, the history of which goes back 2000 years. Aydkash Mosque, the tomb of the Islamic missionary Apak Hoja are interesting to visit. The ruins of the ancient city of Hanoi have been preserved 30 km northeast of the city.

In the eastern part of the Dzungarian depression, one can find petrified trees that have been preserved since ancient times. There are especially many such trees in the Jiangjun Desert. Known for the thickets of the stone forest of the Shishu Gorge (Stone Forest), Zhangpeng (Yurt), Laoying (Eagle), Kunlun and others. In the Shishu Gorge on an area of 3.5 km 2there are more than a thousand fossilized trunks. The thickness of some of them reaches 2 or more meters. Petrified trunks form chaotic heaps. Interestingly, annual rings are quite clearly visible on the cut, and the pattern of the bark has also been preserved. In terms of area, number of trees, and degree of preservation, the stone forest in Jiangjun rivals similar fossils in America, Australia, and Italy. In the depths of the Jiangjun Desert is another local attraction – the so-called “city of the devil.” This is a heap of rocks that acquired bizarre shapes during prolonged wind erosion, reminiscent of palaces, then fortress walls with towers.

100 kilometers east of the county town of Mule is the “singing mountain”, more precisely, there are only five mountains, built of brown sandstone, they resemble giant dunes about 60 meters high. When descending from the mountain, the sand covering the slopes begins to make a ringing, and on the slopes facing in different directions, this ringing is not the same.

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China