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Urumuqi Attractions
The tourist treasures of Urumqi outshine those of many other provinces and cities. As an important strategic locale in the ancient Silk Road and the gathering place of historic East-West exchanges, Urumqi is home to numerous cultural relics and historic treasures. Thirteen main ethnic minorities offer souvenirs of their enduring colorful customs. Located in the heartland of Eurasia, Urumqi¡®s unique location and natural environment form an enchanting picture alluring tourists and travelers from home and abroad.

One of the landmarks of Urumqi is Red Hill with its emerald greenery, pagoda, and shrines. The hill rocks are reddish-brown, hence the name Red Hill. Historical sites on the hill once included the Ebo (stone cairn used by tribesmen to worship and sacrifice to their gods) built by the nomadic Oyrat Tribe; and the Temple of the Jade Emperor and the Temple of the Great Buddha built in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). These splendid temples attracted swarms of visitors and made the hill a holy place where worshipers chanted Buddhist sutras and conducted religious ceremonies. Unfortunately, almost all the buildings were destroyed during the war, leaving only the pagoda at the top. Today, local people regard the hill as the symbol of the city.

People¡®s Park, also called ¡®the park for sharing happiness¡®, is on the west bank of the Urumqi River. It was originally a stretch of marshland and lakes surrounded by luxuriant centuries-old trees. Now it is a scenic, tree-shaded park with pavilions and a lake where you can hire a rowboat. The best time to visit is in the morning when local people exercise.

Xinjiang Regional Museum located in the downtown area since 1953, displays archaeological treasures and local relics from the Silk Road. Cultural relics excavated on the ancient Silk Road include silk, pottery, porcelain, terra-cotta figures, weapons, scriptures, even some mummies discovered in the vast desert. In addition, articles from various ethnic groups are shown. These include clothing, household utensils, handicrafts, hunting tools, and musical instruments, as well as a Uygur house and various yurts.

The most famous landscape gem near Urumqi is Heavenly Lake (also named Tianchi Lake), particularly refreshing to travelers arriving in Urumqi from the barren Xinjiang deserts or from China¡®s granite cities. A moraine lake hemmed in by majestic snow-crowned peaks west of Bogda Mountain, Tianchi is 3,400 meters (11,125 feet) long, 1,500 meters (4920 feet) wide, 1,980 meters (6494 feet) above sea level. The pristine scene is stunning. A one-day tour usually consists of a boat ride on the lake, or a ride or walk along the lakeshore.

Southern Pasture is an area at the northern foot of Karawuquntag Mountain 75 kilometers (46 miles) south of Urumqi. One of the most spectacular spots here is the West White Poplar Gully. Traveling through this narrow verdant gully is a unique experience for sightseers who love snowcapped peaks, waterfalls, dragon-spruce trees and wild flowers. An ideal place for an excursion, visitors can take a horseback tour guided by local Kazakhs.

In Urumqi, there are ten ethnic minorities practicing Islam. It boasts 263 mosques now. The famous ones include Tartar Mosque and Qinghai Mosque and Southern Mosque and Shaanxi Mosque. Tartar mosque is the center for peaceful Islamic activities in Urumqi City. And Southern Mosque is an important historic heritage site. This center of Moslem worship was built in 1919 and subsequently renovated on three different occasions.

Attraction around Urumqi: Kanas Nature Reserve boasts a beautiful natural ecosystem formed by lakes, rivers, glaciers, forests and grasslands.

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