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Desolate deserts and cities with a million inhabitants, Central Asian bazaars and Buddhist temples, Chinese characters and the ancient Chagatai language - the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has connected all the secrets and contradictions of Asia. What is China's largest province today?
The Dzhungarian rocky plain is separated by a wall of mountains of the Tien Shan range from the Kashgar plain, in the central part of which is the second largest sandy Takla-Makan desert after the Sahara.
Rivers that originate in the mountains disappear into the endless desert or flow into lakes. And only the Irtysh, the legendary hero, having caught up with the Ob, carries its waters to the Kara Sea of the Arctic Ocean.
The nature of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is unusually rich: Altai meadows and birch groves, sandy deserts and deep rivers, a tectonic depression and the highest mountain peaks. The unique miraculous landscape attracts tourists no less than historicalmonuments.
The following natural sites are popular among ecotourists in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China:
- West Bayan Gorge. Having driven 50 km from the provincial capital, travelers see a typically alpine landscape. The snow caps of the peaks are replaced on the slopes by the greenery of mixed forests, where birches and willows, spruces and cypresses meet. At the foot of the mountains, meadow grasses spread like a juicy carpet. A narrow path along the bottom of the gorge leads to a waterfall with a 40-meter cascade. In a cool gorge, you can meet representatives of the local fauna. The gorges of Banfangou, Gangguo and Myaori reveal the unique charm of the Urumqi-Nanshan region.
- Tianchi Lake. Called Jade in ancient times, it is associated with the legend of the romantic and beautiful goddess Sivanmu. Nearby are the Shimen Stone Gate, the Rock supporting the sky, the Flying Waterfall and other attractions of the Tianjin scenery area.
- Turfan depression. Lake Aydin-Kul, located in the center, is one of the lowest places on the planet. Below sea level is only the Dead in Jordan. The reviews of travelers in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region when describing Turpan abound with the epithet "the most" - the hottest, driest, lowest, sweetest. The latter refers to the amazing variety of grapes grown here, with a sugar content of 22-26%.
- Stone forest and the city of the Devil. Traveling through the Dzungarian Plain, tourists must visitStone forest. The petrified trunks that have been preserved since the Paleolithic are amazing: some are over 2 m thick; annual rings and bark patterns can be seen on the cut. Heaped up by wind and time, the rocks have taken on the bizarre outlines of fabulous palaces and mythical animals. The Devil's City is featured in many promotional photos of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
A century of history
The history of these places can be traced by the names of states that have succeeded each other over the past centuries.
In the VIII century, 9 Uighur tribes united in the Uyghur Khaganate, the center of which was located on the territory of modern Mongolia, and the northern part of Xinjiang province was the outskirts of the state. The Buddhist state of the Idikuts, which replaced the Khaganate in the 10th century, existed for 500 years and became the fifth ulus of the Mongol Empire. After the collapse of the Mughal Empire, the Dzungar Khanate was formed. In the 18th century, the troops of the Qing Empire captured Dzungaria and gave the area the name Xinjiang, which means "new frontier" or "new territory".
Historical and architectural sights
The ruins of the ancient cities of Idikut, Gaochang and Jiaohe have become traditional for tourists to visit. The Buddhist cave temple, the temples and monasteries of Kuchar and Turfan, the mounds of Astana and the excavations of the kingdom of Lolan attract thousands of tourists every year.
Sightseeing tours in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region necessarily include a visit to China's largest mosque, 1442year of construction, Id-Kah in Kashgar. The Mausoleum of Allak Khoja of the 17th century, the statue of Mao and the Sunday market are located in the same city.
Opened in 2004, the Kazakh Museum in Gulja tells the story of one of the region's 47 nationalities.
In the capital of the province, the city of Urumqi, the museums of the Silk Road and Xinjiang, the zoo and the Erdaqiao Bazaar are waiting for tourists.
More than 19 million people of different nationalities and cultures live here, trying to combine the unique ancient traditions and untouched beauty of nature with a modern rhythm.