Cities and places in Xinjiang have always at least two names: one in Uygur Language and one Chinese.
Turpan - Tu Lu Fan
Or names come from other minority people who live in this area:
"Urumqi" means "A Beautiful Pasture Land" in ancient Mongolian used by the Junggar tribe, which used to live in this area. In Chinese Language it is called "Wulumuqi".
Then there are also ancient names, which have been used in former centuries:
Kucha has been ancient Qiuci
Or you find old names in the books of the people, who explored the Taklamakan Desert 100 years ago:
The ruins of Gaochang (Uygur: Kocho) near Turpan have been known as Karakhoja and Idikutschari.
Here is another fine example, which I quote from www.wikipedia.org:
Kucha/Kuçar/Kuchar Uyghur (كۇچار), Chinese Simplified: 库车; Traditional: 庫車; pinyin Kùchē; also romanized as Chiu-tzu, Kiu-che, Kuei-tzu. Also known in ancient China as: 屈支 屈茨; 龜玆; 丘玆, also Po (bai in pinyin?)
Favorite thing: Throughout my travels, I have been to some very remote places on this planet. The visit to Tianshan Mountains of Xinjiang is one of this instances. When seeing the Kazak people living a simple and basic life in this very harsh and isolated region, it makes me appreciate life more, and make me more aware that while we are in the 21st century with all the modern technologies and lifestyle, there are still many people living a very basic and wayward life. More photos of the Tianshan Mountains are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
Xinjiang is a province, where many minority people live. The long history of migrants, merchants and nomads left their descendants in this remote area.
You find mainly the following people living in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Province:
(Statistic from 2000)
Uygur: 45 %
Han Chinese: 40%
I am sure, that you have not heard of many of the latter before.
It is an interesting game to guess, to which minority a person belongs. Our tourguide in 2007 belonged to Miao Minority. But through a mistake he was counted as a Han Chinese. So he said, that he is only allowed to have one child, whereas minority people can have two children.
Favorite thing: When you go from Kashgar to Urumqi or Turfan most of the trip will be along the Taklamakan Desert. To the left mountains with not a single tree and to the right a flat and dry landscape. Dry bushes and stones for miles and miles and miles.
Kashgar old townIn the area of Id Kah Mosque, the old Uygur town still survives. It consists of a tangle of narrow passages lined with adobe houses, closed behind high walls and carved doors. All around Uygur shops where blacksmits, cobblers, carpenter are working.
I wonder how long the old town will survive under the pressure of the … white tiles!!
Not far from Turpan you can find this range of mountains called "flaming". Why? Mainly because of the shape and the colour of their slopes, that remind flames when seen from the distance.
But also from the incredibly hot temperatures you can suffer if coming here in summer, as is a terribly desertic place and some areas are below the sea level.
Favorite thing: Most of the time we spent on the road in Xinjiang all we could see from the bus was desertic landscapes, in different shapes and tonalities of brown and grey, but not a single tree out of the Tien Shan mountains...
Favorite thing: On the way from Khorgos to Urumqi across the Tien Shan mountains we passed by a mountain lake called Sayram Hu. It was a rather monotonous landscape but I found this to be a beautiful lake settled in a special scenery. It seemed to me that this could be one of the most inhospitous and deserted places on earth, this huge lake whose water must be freezing, surrounded by naked mountains, no trees, no rocks, no people... just the lake and the sky, those menacing clouds...
We entered China from the west, via Khorgos border. I remember the place as an empty nowhere land, a very desolated deserted place. All that region has long time been disputed by both China and the USSR, so there were many security measures, but more for the trucks than for the few (if any) tourits passing by.
We had some deade hours while crossing, and all you could do was try to chat with the people who passed by. By signs, of course, as they spoke very very little english...
This range of mountains are a natural border between China and the former USSR. In the old Silk Road it marked the end of the endless plains of China and the beginning of the mountains towards the Caspian Sea.
Commonly known as the Heavenly Mountains you can find there a few big lakes, ans many pine woods. On the way through we found many nomads' "yurtas", you know, those typical moghol tents where nomads still live in these lands...
Favorite thing: Crossing the Kirghizstan-China border you go through different landscapes along the Tien Shan Mountains but most of it is deserted, with a little, if any, vegetation. There is almost no traffic, just a few trucks slowly running like modern camels of the Silk Road...
Favorite thing: Sometimes along the journey, you can see local people herding goats and if you are lucky, they may be very close to the road for photo taking. However, they can become a nuisance when they block the road which can take a while to clear.
Favorite thing: One of the things I enjoyed most in Xinjiang is taking a horse ride from the glacier back to the Kazak settlement. Earlier on, I have walked up to the glacier. Because of the high altitude, I was rather tired after reaching the glacier and therefore decided to take a horse ride back.
once a Silk Road trading centre, today a large town in “Chinese style” (that means white tiled buildings); thousand of red taxis and blaring horns; hundreds of traders coming from the neighbouring regions and … few tourists sitting at John’s cafè waiting for the Sunday market.
Friendly local people, great hospitality!
Fondest memory: Diverse culture, rich history, indegenous costume, traditional customs
When in China, westerns should choose a "5-star" hotel. Not because its fancy, but it helps being...more
No.17 West Renmin Road, Kashi, Xinjiang Uygur, 844000, China
Good for: Couples
No.230 West Laocheng Rd., Turpan, Xinjiang Uygur, 838000, China
Good for: Couples
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