Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, also called Xin for short, is located in northwestern China. Largest in area in all the province-level administrative regions of China, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region covers an area of 1.66 million sq.km, one sixth of Chinese territory. Situated in the hinterland of Eurasian continent, Xinjiang of China borders eight countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Kirghiziastan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, India and Afghanistan. The geographic position of Xinjiang makes it very important in strategy. In history, Xinjiang served as the key controlling section of the well-known Silk Road, while now it is an unavoidable part of the railway leading to the second Eurasia Continental Bridge.
Xinjiang, called Western Region in ancient times, has been an inalienable part of China from ancient times. In 60 B.C., Xinjiang officially became a part of China’s territory for that year central government of the Western Han Dynasty founded the West Region Frontier Command here. In 1884, the government of the Qing Dynasty established Xinjiang Province. In 1949, Xinjiang was liberated through peaceful means. October 1, 1955 saw the establishment of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Presently, there are 14 prefectures (including prefectures, autonomous prefectures and prefecture-level cities) and 88 counties (including cities and cities at county level) under the government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, including 33 counties (county-level cities) in border areas. The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) is an important component part of Xinjiang and has 174 regimental agricultural and stockbreeding farms under it. By the end of 2004, the population of Xinjiang had reached 19.6311 million.
Language of Xinjiang
Topography of Xinjiang
Xinjiang's complex topography has granted it deserts, oases, glaciers, and grasslands. On these striking backdrops live a total of 13 different peoples, including the Han, Uyghur, Kazak, Hui, Mongol, Xibe and Manchurian ethnic groups. These 13 groups speak different languages (11 in total) and have different religious beliefs: some are Buddhist, some are Muslim, and others are Christian. In this way, the people of Xinjiang as diverse and vibrant as the landscapes they share.
As everywhere in China, the official language is Mandarin. However, many other languages are spoken in Xinjiang. The most common is Uyghur, a Turkic language similar to Uzbek but written in Arabic script. Other languages include Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik and Mongol.
What does 'Uygur' mean？
Uygur means "unity" or "alliance." The origin of the ethnic group can be traced back to the Dingling nomads in northern and northwestern China and in areas south of Lake Baikal and between the Irtish River and Lake Balkhash in the third century B.C. Some people maintain that the forefathers of the Uygurs were related to the Hans. The Dingling were later called the Tiele, Tieli, Chile or Gaoche (high wheel). The Yuanhe tribe reigned supreme among the Gaoche tribes during the fifth century A.D., and the Weihe among the Tiele during the seventh century. Several tribes rallied behind the Weihe to resist Turkic oppression.
History of Xinjiang
Xinjiang has a long history. The area was called Xiyu in ancient China which means "West Region". It was plundered by the Huns before the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). During the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD), Xinjiang was treated as an integral part of the nation's territory. Since then, Xinjiang was governed by all successive dynasties...More Read: History of Xinjiang
Climate of Xinjiang
Xinjiang has a desert climate: Winters are very cold and summers extremely hot. The best time to visit this province is in the autumn, when the days are long, the sky is clear and temperatures more bearable than in summer. Another excellent reason to visit at that time is the abundance of delicious melons and other fruits and vegetables which are then available.
It is the most arid province; also contains the hottest and the coldest places; the longest inland river, the Tarim; the lowest marsh, the Aydingkol Lake (Moonlight Lake) in the Turpan Basin; the largest inland lake and the largest desert. In Xinjiang tourists can visit the world-famous Yardang Spectacle in Korla, stone forests, enjoy the mystery of the desert with its spectacular sand mountains. The ancient Silk Road brought Xinjiang a mix of eastern and western cultures which left behind stunning relics. Today, those ancient cities, caves, temples and tombs attract countless tourists from home and abroad.
Time Zone of Xinjiang
While you are visiting Xinjiang, it is important to be aware of the time zone being used. Although officially run on Beijing
time, Xinjiang people also use there own system. When making travel arrangements, be sure which time zone or system is being used or you could get caught out.