Tuesday, 15 March 2011

10 Most Popular Destinations in Xinjiang

1. Heavenly Lake (天池)
The Heavenly Lake is situated at the descending slope of Bogda Peak of Mt. Tianshan, the center of Xinjiang. It is 1,900 m above sea level, and covers an area of 4.9 km². It is an alpine quake lake formed by ancient glaciers and debris flow. Surrounded by snow peaks, the lake got its source from the melted snow. The lake is tranquil and flat as a mirror, reflecting the surrounding mountain peaks. The Heavenly Lake is a famous tourist attraction in Xinjiang, and there are pleasure boats available for tourists.

2. Flaming Mountains (火焰山)
The Flaming Mountains stand in the north of the Turpan Basin and is 98 km long, 9 km wide and 500 m above sea level. Composed mainly of red sandstone, the mountains look like raging flames in the blazing sun, which gives them the name "Flaming Mountains". In midsummer, the temperature waves may reach 80 °C. With the red sun overhead, the red mountain looks like a fiery dragon – truly an unforgettable spectacle. During the trek approaching the mountain, visitors will find the soles of their shoes in the intense heat. Scientific explanation cites tectonic plate movement on the earth's surface during the formation of the Himalayas 50,000,000 years ago.

3. Ancient City of Jiaohe (交河古城)
One of the world's architectural wonders hides in Yarnaz Valley, 10 km west of Turpan. Like a willow leaf, the ancient city of Jiaohe (Yarkhoto) with a history of 2,300 years lies between two rivers on a loess plateau atop a cliff of over 30 m. The largest, oldest and best-preserved earthen city in the world, Jiaohe is 1,650 m by 300 m at its widest; with an area of 220,000 m².

4. Grape Valley (葡萄沟)
The Grape Valley is situated in a canyon, on the west side of the Flaming Mountains and 15 km northeast of the seat of Turpan County in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Here is a world of unique beauty, presenting a striking contrast with the hot, dry and barren outside. Cushioned by green grass and graced with green trees, the valley is a world of green with brooks, canals and sparkling springs. There is a poetic flavor to the idyllic beauty of the valley. Around the grapevines, vibrant poplar trees tower and blooming flowers grow, while cottages and adobe houses are sit charmingly on the valley’s sides.

5. Karez Irrigation System (坎儿井)
The Karez is an underground irrigation system that was constructed over 2,000 years ago and is considered one of the greatest engineering achievements of ancient China, with the Great Wall and the Grand Canal. It is a series of wells and underground channels that transferred water, usually from the glaciers on the base of the Mt. TianShan, to communities in the area. Many cities on the ancient Silk Road, some as far west as modern Iran, relied on this irrigation system as a primary supply of water.

6. Yili Nalati Grassland (伊犁那拉提草原)
Located in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Yili Grasslands are like an elegant fairy land with beautiful scenery. The famous Nalati Grassland is a part of the Yili Grasslands. "Nalati" means "the first place to see the Sun" in the Uygur language. Rich water resources have brought vitality and vigour to Nalati, making it a main pasture in summer. From June to September, wild flowers dot the hills with different colours, turning it into a beautiful scenic spot.

7. Kanas Lake (喀纳斯湖)
The Kanas Lake (Kanasi Hu), which means ''beautiful, rich and mysterious" in Mongolian, can be found 150 km north of Bu'erjin Town in Xinjiang. Nestled in the deep forests and mountains of Altay, the lake is 1,374 m above sea level and covers an area of 45 km² (10 times bigger than Tianchi on Bogda Mountain) with the deepest point of 188m. The long bean-shaped lake reflects the surrounding snow-capped mountains. In autumn, it presents a picturesque landscape of forests in a riot of colors with gold, red, blue and green, which excites your sights and senses.

8. Monster City (魔鬼城)
Set against the Halahlat Mountain, the Wuerhe Monster City covers an area of 30 km². Monster City is a natural Yardan geological feature shaped by wind erosion and looks like ruined castles or various kinds of animals. In summer and autumn, force 7 to 8 storms usually blow along the valley, raising the sands and whistling like ghosts and wolves, which gives the place another name called the Wind City. When the day falls, the furious wind blows wildly in the city, which sounds just like angry ghost's wailing, so the local Kazak people call it "Monster City."

9. Karakul Lake (卡拉库里湖)
Adjacent to the Karakorum Highway, lays the two interconnected lakes which named as Karakul Lake. Karakul Lake is the lake which located on the highest altitude throughout the world, which is above 4000 m above sea level. Moreover, the lake which covers an area of 10 km² is in fact a very huge lake. The shores of Karakul Lake can be described as the paradise of Keerkezi ethnic. There are many legends regarding the name of the lake, there are people saying that Karakul Lake is a black water lake as “Kara” means black color in Keerkezi language; there is also another explanation that “Kara” can also mean huge and wide in Keerkezi language that this word is significant to the magnificent lake.

10. Big Bazaar of Kashgar (喀什大巴扎)
Bazaar means a fair or market. Kashgar is the biggest collecting and distributing center in the region. The big bazaar is an attractive place, garden-like and comprehensive. The Big Bazaar of Kashgar lies in the eastern bank of the Tuman River at the northeastern corner of the city. It is the biggest market in the city. It is also known as the "Mid-Asia Goods Fair". There are 5,000 stalls in the bazaar and the goods come from inland China, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Pakistan and West Asia. Everything a person needs can be found there, from oxen, horses and camels to needles, threads and buttons.

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