Sinkiang is the most remote region of China, a place where the population has important Muslim currents thanks to the proximity of territories such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tibet. The story of Sinkiang, its landscapes and diverse nuances in the gastronomy of this province are simply a delight.
A bit of the history of Sinkiang
This part of China presents the best mix that can exist between East and West. Sinkiang Province was founded by the Qing Dynasty in 1884. In 1949 the region was liberated and became an Autonomous Region of the Uygur Sinkiang ethnicity as early as 1955. Since the 1950s, the ethnic groups that make up this area fight in unison, which gave way to a great border defense.Kashgar - Krishna.Wu
The social structure changed completely at the time when the different races that converge in Sinkiang united for peace. These changes are noticed especially in the religion of its inhabitants, which is mainly Muslim; in the language, which comes from the roots of Turkish, and in a cuisine that blends perfectly with the customs of its neighboring countries.
During the Roman Empire, Sinkiang was popular for its silk and cotton production. For this reason, Muslim, Arab and Persian merchants spread like wildfire through these lands. In this way, the best of Arabia was introduced in China as typical gastronomy, mathematics and medicine, as well as precious stones and gems such as pearls and amber.
Urumchi, the fascinating capital of Sinkiang
Urumchi is the political, economic and industrial center of Sinkiang. The origin of its name is Mongolian and it translates as "beautiful grassland." The city itself has a little more than one million inhabitants, who are mostly Chinese. Urumchi is also an important railway exchange headquarters.Urumchi - Marc van der Chijs / Flickr.com
One of the attractions that attract tourists the most when visiting Urumchi isthe Sinkiang Museum, which houses precious objects from different relevant epochs of the Silk Road. It is also important to highlight the green areas of the capital, which combine the sublime of nature with the harmonic of Asian architecture, the People's Park is an example of this. It is also interesting to visit its Grand Bazaar
Turfan, a true Chinese oasis
This region of Sinkiang has been listed as the hottest in all of China, and it is not surprising because it is in the desert. Although the climate is unfavorable, the inhabitants of Turfán live from the cultivation of the grape. The vineyards obtain daily water from the «karez» system, a network of canals that extracts the vital liquid thanks to the melting of nearby mountains.Bezeklik Caves - Richard Towell / Flickr.com
But nevertheless, the highlights are the Caves of the thousand Buddhas of Bezeklik, located 45 kilometers from Turfan and carved in the rock of a cliff. An ancient monastery beautifully decorated with frescoes dedicated to different aspects of Buddhism. Murals adorning 40 of the 77 caves.
Kashgar, a city anchored in time
Located on the edge of the Taklamakan desert, it is an exotic and peculiar city. Once the Silk Road stop also stops, in Kashgar you can visit old bazaars and narrow-lane neighborhoods that transport the traveler to very distant times.Id Kah Mosque - Lian Deng
Highlights the old city, a corner with beautiful houses of polychrome wooden balconies and beautiful mosaics. The mosque of Id Kah, one of the largest in the East.
"Being the eternal stranger, the eternal apprentice, the eternal postulant, there is a formula to be happy."
-Julio Ramón Ribeyro-
Nature in SinkiangKanas Lake - jokho
Sinkiang enjoys incredible natural spaces. Among them highlights the beautiful lake Kanas, hidden between high mountains and that stands out for the color of its waters, sometimes turquoise blue, sometimes emerald green. It all depends on the seasons. A lake, by the way, that also has its own monster.
Another beautiful corner is the Heavenly Lake, in Tianshan National Park. Also surrounded by mountains, in it there is a small but delicious temple. And speaking of mountains, we must refer to Bogda Shan, a mountain range with high peaks of perpetual snow, steep slopes and glaciers.