Urumqi is the capital city of Xijiang, probably the most amazing and intriguing province of China . It is home to central asian ethnic minorities, such as the Uyghur , kyrkgyz and other, whose features are fundamentally different to the chinese ethnic majority han. Furthermore, the city is surrounded by high range mountains and sand deserts which makes urumqi a unique place.
When walking in the streets, it is sometimes hard to believe that you are still in China. Local people have more to european or arabic features. The central government has put many efforts into developping the city as one of the major commercial center in central asia, and at the same time, has been able to give it its own chinese feature. When walking in the CBD, you have the same feeling has any other main chinese coastal city. But when you are going off the small Uyghur streets, you can find yourself in front of a street butcher who just ended preparing a lamb by snapping its head off and hanging the meat on his trolley… unique…
In 2009, a violent clash opposed the two main ethnic group in the city ( Uyghur and Han ) and since then the security is really strong and its not rare to cross some police groups armed with shields patrolling around the city.