Urumqi, a Mongolian name meaning “Beautiful Pasture,” is seated at the foot of the soaring Tien Shan (Heavenly) Mountains, and is the capital of China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Province. Both its people and its landscapes are variegated and diverse. The slopes of 17,864-foot Bogdan Peak, bristling with spruce, give way to valleys lined with poplar that merge into the grasslands of the nomad, and finally transform themselves into desert. Nomads of Mongolian, Kazakh and Uighur extraction have roamed here for thousands of years, and Han Chinese people began moving here in the first century AD.
PUBLISHED: July 18, 2013