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Urumqi Facts

Urumqi Facts

Written by Candice SongUpdated Nov. 29, 2023

Foreign tourists now in China can travel to Xinjiang. A nucleic acid test result is required. For more information, please contact us.

Name: Urumqi (乌鲁木齐; Wūlǔmùqí /oo-room-chee/)
Meaning: Mandarin rendering of 'beautiful pasture' in the Mongolian language
Previous names: Tihwa, Dihua, Luntai, Urabo


  • Doorway to travel to the rest of Xinjiang
  • An important stop on ancient Silk Road
  • Ethnic mix of Hui, Uyghur and other minority ethnic groups.
  • Exotic shopping and dining
  • Russian, Mongolian, and Central Asian products are also available

Main Attractions

The Heavenly LakeBeautiful scenery of Heavenly Lake


The city is in a strategic lowlands pass to the Tarim Basin that is a conduit for travel between the east and the west and south.

  • 648 The Tang Empire set up Luntai Town to tax the Silk Road traders along this northern route.
  • 1220 The Uyghur Khaganate allied with the expanding Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan.
  • 1670 The Uighur tribes revolted and formed the Zunghar Khanate.
  • 1755 The Qing Empire army under Emperor Qianlong exterminated the Zunghars.
  • 1933-1934 Battles took place during the Kumul Rebellion


  • Significance of the city: It is the largest city in a vast region. The location in the pass to the Tarim Basin makes it a transportation hub and a natural location for regional administration.
  • Geographical factoid: Urumqi has the Guinness world record for being the city that is the most remote from the sea in the world.
  • Nearby cities: Turpan (154 km/94 mi)
  • Municipality terrain: The city is in a lowlands between two parallel mountain ranges that span northwest to southeast.
  • Elevation: 800 m (2,600 ft)

Location Information

  • Municipality location: northwestern China
  • Municipality population: 3,110,280
  • Municipality area: 10,989 sq km (733 sq mi)
  • Municipality population density: 283/sq km (388/sq mi)
  • Urban area: 828 sq km (319.7 sq mi)
  • Urban population: 2,302146
  • Urban population density: 2,780/sq km (7,201/sq mi)
  • North to south distance of urban area: 17 km (10 mi)
  • East to west distance of urban area: 10 km (6 mi)
  • City center: Xinshi (43.85N, 87.58E)


The Heavenly Lake
  • Annual average low temperature in January: -16.6 °C (2.1 °F)
  • Annual average high temperature in July: 30 °C (86.1 °F)
  • Semi-arid climate; annual precipitation: 290 mm (11 in)

Winters are very cold and dry.


  • Average annual income: (2008) 43,311 RMB (5,600 USD)
  • Development: developing; the city is rapidly developing as a regional financial center, administrative city, and industrial center for largely undeveloped and vast Xinjiang Province.
  • Industry: 53% tertiary industry (services), 45.5% secondary (industry), 1.5% primary (animal husbandry, mining, agriculture)
  • CBD: in the Tianshan District (43.80N, 87.63E)
  • Shopping Streets: Grand Bazaar (Erdaoqiao), Hualin Market


  • Urumqi Diwopu International Airport handled 9,100,000 passengers in 2010. It is China's 18th busiest airport.
  • 1 train station
  • 4 regular rail lines
  • 3 national highways link there

Explore Urumqi with Us

See our popular Urumqi itinerary for inspiration:

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