Urumqi Travel Guide

Ürümqi is the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, in the northwest of the country. With a built up population of 3.1millions as of 2010 census (5 urban districts plus Midong), Ürümqi, whose name means"beautiful pasture" in the Mongolian language of the Dzungar people, is the largest city in China's western interior. Since the 1990s Ürümqi has developed economically and now serves as a regional transport node and commercial centre.

The largest city in western China, Ürümqi has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the most remote city from any sea in the world. It is about 2,500 kilometres(1,600 mi) from the nearest coastline as Ürümqi is the closest major cityto the Eurasian pole of inaccessibility. The city has an administrative area of10,989 square kilometres (4,243 sq mi) at an average elevation of 800metres (2,600 ft).

In Ürümqi a semi-arid climate prevails, with very large differences between summer and winter, hot summers, with a July daily average of 23.7 °C (74.7 °F), and very cold winters, with a January daily average of −12.6 °C (9.3 °F). The annual average temperature is 6.9 °C (44.4 °F). The city is semi-arid, with its summers slightly wetter than its winters. Yet sunny weather is more likely inthe warmer months, and relative humidity is the lowest during summer. Its annual precipitation is about 290 millimetres (11.4 in).

Although Ürümqi is situated near the northern route of the Silk Road, it is likely to be a relatively young city. According to Chinese scholars, during the 22nd year ofEmperor 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 Ürümqi.

Thus, little is heard ofthe region following the Tang Dynasty in the Chinese texts until the Qing Dynasty conquest of Dzungaria in 1755 under the Emperor Qianlong. Qianlong Emperor named the expanded town of Luntai "Dihua", meaning "to enlighten." In 1884, the Guangxu Emperor established Xinjiang as a Province, with Dihua (today's Urumuqi) as its capital. Following the founding of the People'sRepublic of China, on 1 February 1954, the city was renamed Ürümqi, meaning "beautiful pasture" in the Mongolian language of the Dzungar people.


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