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Urumqi Travel Guide

Urumqi Overview

Urumqi is an isolated out-post of the ancient Silk Road. The city once was an important transportation hub on the Silk Road, and now serves as the capital city of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. In the hinterland of the Eurasian continent, the city is on the northern slope of Mt. Tianshan and at the southern edge of Jungar Basin. With unique natural beauty and rich folk customs, Urumqi is an ideal tourist destination in China.

For over two thousand years, the area around Urumqi has been lush pastures populated by many minorities who herded sheep and cattle, Urumqi actually meaning "beautiful pastures" in Mongolian.

In ancient times, Urumqi (which means "a beautiful pastureland" in ancient Mongolian) was an important stop on the Silk Road that helped promote Sino-foreign relations through economic and cultural exchange. The city became a Uygur stronghold in the 8th century AD following periods of tenuous Chinese control during the Han (206 BC- 220AD) and Tang (618-907) dynasties. It came under Chinese control again in the 1760s as part of Eastern Turkistan, and in 1884 the city was made the capital of the newly created Sinkiang Province. Known officially by its Chinese name of Dikhua after 1763, it was renamed Urumqi in 1954 and in 1955 became the capital of the new Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Industrialization, previously hampered by isolation, accelerated after the discovery (1955) of petroleum deposits at nearby Karamay in 1955.

Urumqi Facts

Chinese Name: 乌鲁木齐

Location: In the hinterland of the Eurasian continent, the city is on the northern slope of Mt. Tianshan and at the southern edge of Jungar Basin.

Dialing code: (+86) 0991

Zip Code: 830063

Area: Urumqi has an area of 12,000 sq km.

Main attractions in Urumqi: Tianchi Lake, Red Hill, Southern Pasture

Urumqi Climate & Weather

Brief Information

Urumqi is located in the temperate zone and has a semi-arid continental climate. The temperature in Urumqi varies greatly between day and night. The average annual temperature is 6.4°Celsius. Winter is cold and temperature averages -15.2°Celsius. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −41.5°C (−43°F) to 42.1°C (108°F) Its annual precipitation is about 290millimetres (11.4in).

Although inhospitable in Winter with bone-chilling weather, Urumqi's climate is pleasant in Autumn, with warm days and cool evenings. An extensive series of tree belts around it has helped to reduce wind, dust, and cold. The best time to travel in Urumqi is from May to October when flowers are in full bloom and the air is fragrant with ripening fruits.

Climate Data Table for Urumqi
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high
−7.4 −4.7 2.7 16.1 23.1 27.6 30.1 29.0 23.1 13.2 2.0 −4.4
Average low
−16.6 −13.7 −5.4 4.8 11.2 16.1 18.2 16.7 11.2 3.1 −5.9 −12.9
Rainfall (mm) 10.4 10.0 18.5 32.3 38.9 36.2 30.4 23.3 26.2 26.3 19.1 14.6
Days of rainfall 9.2 7.2 7.2 6.8 6.8 8.0 8.4 6.3 5.0 5.5 6.9 9.6

1. Spring is refreshing while a little cold. It snows occasionally.

2. Summer is beautiful when flowers are in full boom and grasslands turn to green. It can be hot but the beauty is everlasting.

3. Autumn is the best season to visit Urumqi. As the weather cools, the city is shrouded by colours and scent of ripe fruits.

4. Snow is common in winter and it's very cold. It's the low season, less crowded and cheaper to travel.

Urumqi Tours & Tings to Do