An Introduction to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
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Xinjiang is situated in the hinterland of the Eurasian continent with majestic Altay Mountains in the north , and lofty Kunlun昆仑山Karakooruin and Arjin Mountains in the south. The Pamir Mountains in the west are known as ‘father of mountains’ for its height. In the middle of the region lies the magnificent Tianshan Mountains from west to east, dividing the area into parts—South Xinjiang and North Xinjiang, forming the Tarim Basin 塔里木盆地 in the south and the Jungar Basin 准珂尔盆地 in the north. Xinjiang’s landscape is immensely varied ranging from spectacular snow-capped icebergs to the boundless lush green grasslands, charming oasis and fabled lakes. Xinjiang belongs to continental climate. By the end of the 19th century, Xinjiang had 13 ethnic groups—Uygur, Han Kazak, Monglian, Hui, Kirgiz, Manchu, Xibe, Tajik, Daur, Uzbek, Tatar and Russia. The Uygurs formed the majority, as they do today.
Xinjiang has a variety of industrial sectors,, and is especially well known for its handicraft industry. The region abounds in minerals such as petroleum, natural gas, and coal, salt and gold. The Hotan Jade 和田玉石is of fine quality. The region is rich in solar and windy energy. Xinjiang is China’s important pastureland; its fuzz sheep 新疆细羊毛 and Yili horse伊犁马are both fine species. Xinjiang has long been reputed for the name of the “Land of Fruit and Melons.” Fruits and melons in Xinjiang are rich in variety and superb in taste. The famous ones are Turpan grape 吐鲁番葡萄, Shanshan Hami melons哈密瓜 and Kurler fragrant pear 库尔勒香梨.
Of many places of interest in Xinjiang, the Heavenly Lake 天池on the Bogda Peak博格达峰, the ancient town of Jaiohe 交河故城, the mysterious ruins of Ancient Kingdom of Loulan 神秘的楼兰古城, and the grotesque Kan’erjing (Karez—an irrigation system of wells connected by underground channels used in Xinjiang) 奇特的坎儿井 are the most notable. Almost every ethnic group in Xinjiang has a festival of its own such as “Ramadan 肉孜节” and “Coban 库尔班节.” Xinjiang has long been known as the “home of songs and dances.” Their main traditional recreations include wrestling, horse racing, goat tussling on horseback/game of horses in pursuit of their prey—a sheep叼羊 and the girl’s chase/girl pursuing lad 姑娘追.
There are rolling snow-capped mountains, hot basins, dense primeval forest and a vast desert. The famous Silk Road and the Eurasian Continental Bridge connecting the eastern and northern parts of the world, lies in this region.
Xinjiang is rich in arable land, pasture, forestry; rich in oil, gas, coal, rich in sunshine and mineral resources. Moreover, Xinjiang is even rich in water resources.
To develop the region smoothly, people in Xinjiang will increase the amount of infrastructure construction, strengthen the environmental protection, adjust the industrial structure and enhance people’s cultural quality. More highways will be built, including many high-grade highways connecting different cities like Xiaocaohu to Korla. Railways including Jinghe to Yi’ning and China to Kyrazstan will soon be constructed. The function of Urumqi and Kashi airports will diversify very quickly. People will use water more effectively, to do underground water exploration and improve irrigation methods so that they will be at a higher standard to meet people’s demand.
Industrial construction is also a key to development. Xinjiang also produces mouthwatering pears, Hami melons, grapes and pomegranates. It will use its rich natural resources to develop the special agriculture industry. It will also put a lot of effort into developing the petroleum industry and its related industries. More textile, non-ferrous metal and foodstuff industrial bases will be established.
The region has an abundance of tourism resources and it will continuously introduce itself to the world and make tourism a new way to help stimulate its economy. Considering the importance of science and technology, it will pay more attention to the quality of education while developing the economy. Xinjiang, on the Silk Road, was once a center for cultural exchanges between the East and the West. Folk arts and customs and a special ethnic culture all help attract visitors from home and abroad.
Because the region has many ethnic groups, it works hard to cultivate minority talented people. Many favourable policies have been implemented to attract more talented people to make Xinjiang more and more beautiful.
The geographic position of Xinjiang gives the region its unique superiority. Occupying one-sixth of China’s total area, it is the largest among the country’s provinces, municipalities and Autonomous regions. As many local people have said, “you will not know how huge China is until you come to Xinjiang.”
Xinjang has a 1,416-kilometer border with Mongolia alone. To date, it has established economic relations with more than 80 countries, opening 33 frontier counties or cities and establishing 36 frontier city ports. The Euro-Asia Continental Bridge, a railway from coastal China’s Lianyuangang in Jiangsu province to the Netherlands’ Rotterdam, has played a more active role in promoting Xinjiang’s foreign trade since its official operation in 1992. The railway passes through Xinjiang from east to west. The southern Xinjiang Railway, from its eastern city Turpan to the southwestern city of Kashi, was officially opened to traffic in 1999.The railway will be extended to link the Uygur region with central Asian countries.
Furthermore, the region has abundant minerals and other resources like solar energy, heat, water, and soil. There are 134 kings of minerals in Xinjiang out of the total of 150 in China. With the development of three oilfields, which are located in Junggar and Tarim basins, Turpan and Hami, the region will surely become one of the most important petroleum and chemical bases in China.
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