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Tianshan Mountain, also called Tien Shan, Celestial Mountains or Heavenly Mountains, is within Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China. With its particular geological structure and stunning natural landscape, the mountain has been inscribed in the World Heritage List by the UNESCO on June 21st 2013.
Tian Shan Mountains is a large system of mountain range situated in the Eurasia hinterland. It is the furthest mountain system from the sea with widespread drought regions. As one of the Seven Mountain Systems in the world, Tian Shan Mountains stretches through four countries (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan) with a length of 2,500 kilometers (about 1,553 miles) from east to west.
Tian Shan Mountains spans across the whole Xinjiang, through Kashgar, Aksu, Ili, Bortala, Bayingolin, Changji, Urumchi, Turpan, and Kumul with a length of 1,760 kilometers (about 1,094 miles). It is also worth to mention that 'three mountains clip two basins' is the geographic feature of Xinjiang. With the Altai Mountains on the north boundary and the Kunlun Mountains on the south boundary, the Tian Shan Mountains in the middle is the natural geographical dividing line between Junggar Basin and Tarim Basin, so Xinjiang can be divided into two parts - Southern Xinjiang and Northern Xinjiang.
What to see?
In addition to the highest peak - Pobeda Peak at 7,435.3, there are tens of peaks along the Tian Shan Mountains including Khan Tengri (China-Kazakhstan border) and Bogda Peak.Although many peaks of Tian Shan Mountains are covered with snow all the year round, the mountain area under snow line is still abundant in animals and plant resources.Vegetation there is under rich diversity, including dense forest, green spruce, whirl pines and more than 80 species of medical plants, especially the most precious herbal medicine - Saussurea Involucrate.
Tomour is situated in the north of Wensu County, in Aksu Prefecture of Xinjiang Region. Tomur Peak is the tallest peak of the Tianshan Mountains with an elevation of 7435 meters, and also the largest modern glacial area of China. In 1980, the Tomur Peak Natural Reserve, covering an area of 1,000 square kilometers, was established. There are not only unique natural sights but also numberless rare and valuable wild animals, like the Tianshan red deer, snow chicken, marmot, yak, brown bear, snow leopard and black stork, and the latter two are listed as the animals under the first standard protection of the State. The area around the Tomour Peak is also an important zone of forest resources and a famous scenic spot for mountaineering exploration and scientific expedition.
The Heavenly Lake (Tianchi)
Owing to the high latitude and high altitude, those peaks are covered with ice all year round. And what makes the Tian Shan Mountains more remarkable is that a high mountain lake - the Heavenly Lake. About 110 kilometers (68.4 miles) away from Urumqi, the lake is located in a valley at 1,943 meters (6,375 feet) on the northern slope of Bogda Peak. The melt water in the lake is crystal clear and quiet like a mirror, which is very beautiful with reflection of the snow peaks and jade green spruces.
The Southern Pasture
Being adapted to harsh climates of high altitude, it grows well on cliffs and in the clefts of rocks along the mountain. Aside from Tianshan Wild Animal Park, which is located at the southern foot of Bogda Mountain, the Southern Pasture and Ili Nalati Grassland are also famous tourist attractions along the Tian Shan Mountains which are highly recommended for visitors who enjoy horse racing and the kazakh folk customs.
When to go?
The best time to travel to Tian Shan Mountains is in summer from June to August when there are beautiful grasslands, cattle and sheep flocks and boundless rape flowers. Besides, for those who favor to enjoy the snow, they are suggested to visit the Mountain before December or after February because the mountain climate between December and February is severe cold and often with wind of force more than 8.
Take along enough warm clothes even if you plan to visit in summer due to the big temperature difference between day and night in the mountainous areas. Also, pay attention to weather changes before visit, especially, the weather forecast for sandstorms.
How to reach?
The Heavenly Lake Scenic area of Tian Shan Mountains is the most popular tourist attraction and it is close to Urumqi, so tourists are recommended to stay in hotels in Urumqi city and take through bus to the scenery spot. The single trip takes 1.5 to 2 hours.