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Urumqi

Urumqi or Urumchi, formerly Dihua, is the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in the northwest of the country. With an urban population of over 2.3 million people, Urumqi, whose name means "beautiful pasture" in the Mongolian language of the Dzungar people, is by far the largest city on China's vast Western interior. Since the 1990s Urumqi has become gradually developed economically and now serves as a regional transport node and commercial centre.

History
Although Urumqi is situated near the northern route of the Silk Road, it is a relatively young city. During the 22nd year of Emperor Taizong's reign in the Tang Dynasty, AD 648, the Tang government set up the town of Luntai in the ancient town seat of Urabo, 10 kilometers from the southern suburb of present-day Urumqi. Ancient Luntai Town was a seat of local government, and collected taxes from the caravans along the northern route of the Silk Road.

Little is heard of the region following the Tang Dynasty until the conquest of Dzungaria in 1755 under the Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. The Dzungars were deliberately exterminated in a brutal campaign of ethnic genocide. One writer, Wei Yuan, described the resulting desolation in what is now northern Xinjiang as: "an empty plain for a thousand li, with no trace of man." After 1759 state farms were established, "especially in the vicinity of Urumchi, where there was fertile, well-watered land and few people." It has been estimated that more than a million people were slaughtered, and it took generations for it to recover.

During the Qing Dynasty (1763) the Qianlong Emperor named the expanded town of Luntai "Dihua" (Chinese pinyin: Díhuà; Manchu: Wen de dahabure fu), meaning "to enlighten." In 1884, the Guangxu Emperor established Xinjiang as a Province, with Dihua as its capital.

Following the founding of the People's Republic of China, on February 1, 1954, the city was renamed Urumqi, meaning "beautiful pasture" in the Mongolian language of the Dzungar people.

Geography and Climate
The largest city in the western half of the People's Republic of China, Urumqi has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the most remote city from any sea in the world. It is about 1,400 miles (2,500 km) from the nearest coastline (Urumqi being the city closest to the Eurasian). The city has an area of 10,989 km². The average elevation is 800 meters.

In Urumqi a cold desert climate prevails. Urumqi features hot summers in July with average temperatures of 24°C (75°F) as well as very cold winters with average temperatures in January of -16°C (3°F). The annual average temperature is 5.4°C (41.7°F). Ürümqi is arid, with its summers slightly wetter than its winters. Its annual precipitation is about 240 mm.

Tourism
The International Grand Bazaar of Xinjiang  is an Islamic bazaar located on South Jiefang Road. It is one of the most attractive tour sites in Xinjiang and Urumqi.
Hong Shan Mountain is the symbolic scenic spot of Urumqi, located in the Hong Shan Park.
Glacier No. 1 , origin of Urumqi River, is the largest glacier located near a city in China.
People's Square 
Nanhu Square
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum
Shuimugou Hot Springs is located 5 km northeast of Urumqi.
Xinjiang Silk Road Museum is located right next to the Grand Bazaar at No.160 Shengli Road. Bus No.110 stops very close to it. It is located on the fourth and fifth floor of a very large European style building which houses a shopping complex as well. The admission charge is 30 Yuan per person. Most of the exhibits have English names as well and some of their guides speak some English.
Ürümqi City Museum is located at South Nanhu Road 123 .

Questions & Comments

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