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Home >> China Travel City Guide >> Urumqi

Urumqi

Urmqi (Wulumuqi in Chinese spelling), situated on the northern slope of the Tianshan Mountains, is most famous for being the furthest city in the world from the ocean. A relatively new city (founded in 1763), the most land-locked area in the world is essentially a modern and drab place, resembling a Russian industrial town in many ways, with few sights of interest but a lively resident population who sustain enough intrigue to hold you here for a day or two. This is also a compulsory stop in terms of transportation (and has been since the Silk Road opened) throughout Xinjiang, and the spectacular Heaven's lake, a day trip from the city, justifies a visit to this area in itself.

Previously known as Dihua, meaning "Enlightening and Civilizing", the Chinese renamed the city in 1884 to its present day tag. Although the feeling and atmosphere here is predominantly Uigurian, 80% of the population is Han Chinese. Long an important trading center, the industrial and commercial side of the city is dominated by the Han Chinese population today, with huge department stores and factories ruling the skyline here. An exploration of the old streets and the Uigur area known as Erdaoqiao provides a more interesting look of the different nationalities living in the city.

Keep one thing in mind - time difference! Although it is the same time on the clock as Beijing, residents here actually live life two hours behind. This does not, however, affect the train, plane or bus. So stick to the time you are given.

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