(Wulumuqi), situated on the northern slope of the
TianshanMountains 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
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.
thing to bear in mind here is the time! Although officially run according to
residents actually live life two hours behind Beijing. This does not
however, affect train, plane and bus times, so make sure you are absolutely sure
when you are supposed to leave and which time zone is being used!