Location: Xinjiang lies in northwest China, bordering on Gansu and Qinghai provinces to the southeast and the Tibet Autonomous Region to the south, sharing a 5,000-km border line with eight countries.
Area: 1,600,000 sq km
Climate: While Xinjiang enjoys between 2,500 to 3,000 hours of sunshine each year, the amount of annual precipitation for the entire region averages a mere 150 milliliters (ml), and thus the air is quite dry.
Provincial Capital: Urumqi
Map of Xinjiang
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Population: 16.25 millions (March 2001)
Ethnic Groups: Uygur (47.47 %), Han(37.58 %) and Kazak (7.3 %) ethnic groups, as well as the Mongolian, Khirghiz, Xibe, Tajik, Uzbek, Manchu, Daur, Tartar and Russian ethnic groups.
Agriculture: The region has had 15 successive years of good harvests with total grain output for the end of the year reaching 7.06 million ton, in addition to over 34.59 million head of livestock. The output of staple crops increased significantly, with unprecedented figures recorded for the output of cotton and sugar beets.
Industry: The region's relatively well developed industrial structure focuses on a whole range industries, such as textiles, foodstuff processing, leather, paper, sugar, carpets, raw and refined oil, iron and steel, metallurgy, machinery, chemicals, power generation, building materials and the light industry.
Superlatives are often used when describing Xinjiang: It is the most arid province; also contains the hottest and the coldest places; the longest inland river, the Tarim; the lowest marsh, the Aydingkol Lake (Moonlight Lake) in the Turpan Basin; the largest inland lake and the largest desert. In Xinjiang tourists can visit the world-famous Yardang Spectacle in Korla, stone forests, enjoy the mystery of the desert with its spectacular sand mountains. The ancient Silk Road brought Xinjiang a mix of eastern and western cultures which left behind stunning relics. Today, those ancient cities, caves, temples and tombs attract countless tourists from home and abroad.
While you are visiting Xinjiang, it is important to be aware of the time zone being used. Although officially run on Beijing time, Xinjiang people also use there own system. If Beijing time is used it means that the sun doesn't raise until 9am and it is still light at midnight in the summer months. When making travel arrangements, be sure which time zone or system is being used or you could get caught out.