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Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, located in the northwest of China, is praised highly as the "Home of Singing and Dancing" for its unique folk culture and custom. It is a large, sparsely populated province which takes up about one sixth of the country's territory. Xinjiang is adjacent to Gansu, Qinghai Province on the east and Tibet on the south and borders Russia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, India, and Afghanistan.
Its capital is Urumqi, and the other main cities are Turpan Prefecture, Kashgar Prefecture, Hotan (Hetian) Prefecture and Aksu Prefecture. In ancient times, it was one of the most important stop on Silk Road. The highlights of Xinjiang include: the Heavenly Lake, the Hanas Lake, Bosteng Lake, Sailimu Lake and Bayinbluke Prairie, the Jiaohe ruins, Gaochang ruins, Loulan Site and Kizil Thousand Buddha Grottoes, and so on.
Xinjiang is short for Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and locates in the northwest of China. With an area of 1,650,257 square kilometers (637,000 square miles), it is a large, sparsely populated area which takes up about one sixth of the country's territory. In ancient times, the Silk Road passed through the region. Xinjiang is adjacent to Gansu, Qinghai Province on the east and Tibet on the south. Besides, the neighboring countries have Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan on the west and north, by the Republic of Mongolia on the northeast, and by Pakistan, Afghanistan and India on the southwest. The capital is Urumqi, and the other main cities are Turpan Prefecture, Kashgar Prefecture, Hotan (Hetian) Prefecture, Aksu Prefecture and so on.
In the north, it has the Altai Mountain; the Tian Shan Mountain is in the middle; Kunlun Mountain, Kala Kunlun Mountain and Arjin Ranges enclose the region on the south. The Tian Shan Mountain as the symbol of Xinjiang lies across the central area of the Region, which makes the two basins: Tarim Basin, a vast desert to the south and Dzungaria Basin in the north. Xinjiang is a multi-religious area with different minorities. The religions have Islamism, Lamaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Shamanism. The dominant one is Islamism having tremendous influence in social life, because more than 10 minorities like Uygur, Khazak, Hui, Kirgiz, Tadjik, Uzbek, Tatar, Sala, Dongxiang, Bao’an and so no believe in Islamism, which take up most of the population. Most of the people reside in along the edges of the Dzungaria and the Tarim basin.
Xinjiang is fruitful in resources, not only has rich energy reserves like minerals, coal, petroleum and natural gas, but also important grain, cotton and textile base in the country. The wheat, corn, the paddy rice are the major grain crops. The climate of Ili valley is temperate, rich raining and fertile, which is a wonderful place to plant paddy rice and wheat and renowned Ili as “the Xinjiang Granary”. The industrial crops are glorious with great varieties. The main products have cotton, plant oil, beet, hemp, tobacco leaves, raw material of medicine, silkworm cocoon and so on. Especially, the cotton is well-known through the nation for its superior quality. On the other hand, it has 138 minerals discovered with a large amount of reserves. The unearthed petroleum is over 20.86billion tons and the natural gas resource is more than 103billion cubic meters. A full exploitation is undertaking to develop the regional economy even to the country.
Xinjiang is vast and sparsely populated. It is a land full of adventure. There are deserts, mountains, lakes and grasslands in the region. It remains one of the most popular adventure destinations in China. There are a lot of places where travelers can go for hiking, camping or other outdoor activities. See Xinjiang hiking guide
Xijiang cuisine: The major nationality in Xinjiang is Uygur who believes in Islamism. So their food habit is exactly the same as Islamites. The regular foods have mutton, beef, chicken, eggs and fish, especially mutton (The Islamic rules on forbidden foods and drink, such as pork and wine, are not considered akin to the pious acts of fasting or abstinence, but rather are part of the regular observance of taboos and are therefore beyond the scope of this entry.) ; the daily drinks mainly are cow milk, ewe milk, yogurt, and milk cream; the vegetables are yellow radish, onion, garlic, pumping, radish, tomato, eggplant, chili, coriander, ageratum, green bean and potato, etc.. The breakfast will have melons and fruits’ jams, milk tea and so on; the lunch will serve the main courses flour-made food with beef and mutton; the dinner will be Nang (a Uygur bread), tea or noodles and so forth. The most regular foods are Nang, fried rice with mutton, stuffed buns and noodles. Xinjiang is rich in the sheep, and it is the favorite food, so shashlik becomes a major dish and a custom in Uygur’s life. The other famous and delicious food is hand picked fried rice. The traditional custom is: the guests sit around a table, and then the host holds a plate and a pot at each hand to let the guests clean their hands one by one and give them the towels to dry their hands. After this, the host will serve the fried rice, and the guests have the rice directly with their hands. The shashlik and hand picked fried rice are the must-try dishes when traveling to Xinjiang for their unique features and flavors.
Representative dishes: Hand Picked Fried Fice (pinyin: shǒu zhuā fàn); Shashlik(pinying: yáng ròu chuàn);
Xinjiang is far away from the ocean with the mountains all around that forms the temperate continental climate. The sunshine time is as long as 2，500-3，500hours a year. Low precipitation and dry is another characteristic. The annual precipitation is about 150 millimeters on average, but the regional precipitation has big differences from place to place. Generally speaking, the south is warmer than the north in winter and hotter than the north in summer. Most of the areas feature a big temperature difference of days and nights in spring and summer and the alternation of fall and winter. In the coldest month January, the average temperature in the Dzungarian Basin is 20 Degrees Celsius below freezing point. The Fuyun County on the northern edge of the Basin made a national record and had the lowest temperature once amounted to 50.15 Degrees Celsius below freezing point, claimed one of the coldest areas in the nation. The hottest month July, Turpan known as “the Fire Continent”, the average temperature is above 33 Degrees Celsius. The highest temperature once reached to 49.6 Degrees Celsius that comes first of the nation.