Xinjiang means ‘New Frontier’ literally and is largely populated by Mainland ethnic minority groups, such as the Mongols, Kazaks, Kyrgyzs and Uighurs. The northwestern border region of Xinjiang, lauded variously as a land of song and dance, melons and fruits, precious stones, and carpets, is situated in the heart of the Eurasia Continent.
Xinjiang was also a key link on the Silk Road and a hub for east-west cultural exchanges in ancient times. The local folklore is rich and varied. What lies within such desolate lands that motivates faraway Beijing? Quick facts of Xinjiang are as below.
|Full Name:||Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (新疆维吾尔自治区)|
|Area:||1,660,001 km2 (640,930 sq mi) larger than Alaska (one-sixth of China’s territory)|
|Population:||21,590,000 (2009) populated by a mixed salad of nearly 50 ethnic minorities|
|Time zone:||2 hours later than Beijing Time, but people use Beijing Standard Time (UTC+8)|
geopolitically crucial, as it borders eight nations;
encompasses a geographical palette of shimmering desert aquarelles, taiga pastureland dotted with flocks of sheep and grand mountain ranges;
hyper-rich with Silk Road history;