In this far-flung and restive frontier province, Central Asian culture is very much alive: from the irresistible smell of teahouse kebabs, to the bustle of bazaars and markets, to the sound of the call to prayer from the neighbourhood mosque. Xīnjiāng is China's Uighur homeland, but for a thousand years, it was also a portal and stronghold for Buddhism in the Middle Kingdom. Outside Silk Road oasis towns, the legacy of these remains in stunning cave art, and the ruins of ancient cities and monasteries. The awesomeness of Xinjiang's environment is an equal draw for travellers, from the scorching sands of the Taklamakan Desert to the cool forests and lakes of the Tiian Shan (Heavenly Mountains). In short, a journey to Chinese Turkestan rewards as an exploration of China's past, its unsettled multicultural present, or simply as an adventure into one of the most sublime landscapes on earth.
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (China's administrative division)
Communist Republic (China)
Uyghur are the 45,8% of the population, followed the Han Chinese with a 40,5%. Other ethnic groups are the Kazakh and Hui, among other minorities.
The official languages are Uyghur and Mandarin, although some people speak Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Oirat and Mongolian over other 43 languages and dialects.
The major religions in Xinjiang are Islam among the Uyghurs and the Hui Chinese minority, while many of the Han Chinese practice Chinese folk religions, Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism.