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Situated in the middle reaches of the Yellow River, Shaanxi boasts tourists resources and is one of the birthplaces of Chinese culture. There are innumerous scenic spots and places of historical interest in Xi'an, the provincial capital, which served as the imperial capital for eleven dynasties. The mausoleum of Emperor Qin and the excavated Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses are the most famous ones.

Shaanxi Province is remarkable for its long history and splendid culture. It was the center of power for a string of dynasties, the remains of whose capital cities are strung out along the southern stretch of the plain. Shaanxi Province covers an area of over 190,000 square kilos and has a population of over 34 millions. Its capital city is Xi'an. Xi'an is one of China's Six Ancient Capitals and boasts of numerous historic sites and cultural relics.

Shaanxi is abundant of mineral resources which are famous both for quantity and quality. Over 130 various minerals have been found in Shaanxi while there are only 150 found in the whole world.

Situated in northwest China and center of the Eurasian continent, Xinjiang covers an area of over 1,600,000 square kilometers, equivalent of one-sixth of China's territory. Xinjiang neighbors Gansu Province and Qinghai province in the southeast and Tibet in the south. It borders eight countries, namely, Mongolia in the northeast, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in the northwest and Afghanistan, Pakistan and India in the southwest.

Xinjiang is in the temperate zone and the Mountain of Tian divides Xinjiang into two parts: south and north Xinjiang. The north part is relatively dry and the south humid due to the mountain's obstruction of water vapor. The average temperature of Xinjiang of the whole year is around 11F.

Recommended Scenic Spots

Heaven Lake in Xingjiang

Situated in the Heavenly Mountain (Tianshan) range, 115 km (71 miles) northeast of Urumqi, Heavenly Lake (Tianchi Lake) is one of the main tourist attractions in China. Used to be known as Yaochi (Jade Lake), the lake is particularly refreshing for those arriving in Urumqi from the barren deserts elsewhere in Xinjiang or from China's numerous granite cities. It is hemmed in by majestic snow-crowned peaks west of Bogda Mountain and it is geologically a moraine lake 3,400 meters (1,1125 feet) long, 1,500 meters (4920 feet) wide, 1,980 meters (6494 feet) above sea level. Covered firs, pines and cypresses and white snow, it boasts a spectacular sight- reminiscent of Switzerland or the Rocky mountains but somehow with more vibrancy and color. Amidst fields of wild flowers grow morel mushrooms, while peppermint and rhubarb, while higher up the mountain are edelweiss and the rare, creamy Snow Lotus (Saussurea involucrate), which grows from rock crevices and is believed to have magical powers as medical cure.

Tourists usually spend one day, take a boat ride on the lake, ride or walk along the lake shore. The wild and tranquil scene is stunning and pristine. You can also stay in one of the many yurts owned by locals, with a mat on the floor and a bowl of milk in the morning. Buses leave daily from the bus station and the Hongshan Park in Urumqi.

Flaming Mountains (Huoyan Shan)

The Flaming Mountains run 100 kilometers (62 miles) along the northern edge of Turpan Depression (Basin) from east to west with its extreme width of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). Its highest peak is 40 kilometers (248 miles) east of the city of Turpan and 831.7 meters (2728 feet) above sea level.

Crustal movements and years of efflorescence fashion its unique geological feature. When the sun's rays beat down in mid-afternoon, the red rocks on the crisscross gullies and ravines reflect and the heat is intense as if the hillsides were engulfed by tongues of fire, hence the name. In the famous 16th century Chinese classic novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en describing four monks in Tang dynasty adventuring the west, Xuan Zang and his companions, Piggy, Monkey and Sandy, attempted to cross the Flaming Mountains. They could not penetrate the flames and Monkey procured a magical palm-leaf fan from Princess Iron Fan, wife of the Ox Demon King (two fiction figures in the novel) and waved it 49 times, causing heavy rains to extinguish the fire. More anecdotes tell that to cross the Flaming Mountains, Monkey burnt his tail, and ever since then all monkeys have had red bottoms.


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