Urumqi(Wulumuqi) means "A beautiful Pasture Land" in ancient Mongolian used by the Junggar tribe. 2000 years ago it was once an important town on the new northern route of the Silk Road, which made important contribution in promoting Sino-foreign economic & cultural exchanges.
Urumqi is situated on the northern slope of the Tianshan Mountains, it 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, Wulumuqi. Although the feeling and atmosphere here is predominantly Uigur, in fact, 80% of the population are Han Chinese. Long an important trading center, the Han Chinese population today dominate the industrial and commercial side of the city, with huge department stores and factories ruling the skyline here. An exploration of the older streets and the Uigur area known as Erdaoqiao provides a more interesting look at the different nationalities living in the city.
China tours inclusive of visiting Urumqi