Urumqi, whose name means "beautiful pasture" in the Mongolian language of the Dzungar people, is located in the north-central part of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It is in the north of the central of Tianshan Mountain, south of the Junggar Basin, its western and eastern part bordering Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture, and southern part neighboring Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, southeastern part interfacing with Turpan region. Urumqi covers an administrative area of 14,200 km2, the total population amounting to 2.62 million as of 2010. Now it has jurisdiction over 7 districts, 1 county, two state-level development zone and an export processing zone. As the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, one of the five provincial-level autonomous regions in China, Urumqi is the political, economic, and cultural center of Xinjiang, a pivotal city in western China opening up to the outside world and a hub of the new Euro-Asia continent.
Xinjiang is known as Xiyu or Western Territory in ancient China. Historically, Urumqi is a key city on the ancient Silk Road. It is the center for economic and cultural exchange between the East and the West and is characterized by its openness, enthusiasm, straightforwardness and entrepreneurship. It is the most dynamic city in central Asia. Urumqi is inhabited by 47 ethnic groups, such as the Han, Uygur, Kazak, Hui and Mongolian. The cultural arts and folk customs of all these ethnic groups constitute unique cultural heritages. Exotic costumes, horse-riding, Diaoyang or scrambling for lamb, girls chasing after boys, Darwaz performances, Alken playing and singing and other cultural activities are very attractive to tourists. Moreover, the ethnic people are versatile and hospitable.
Urumqi is very rich in natural resources. In the north, it has Zhundong oil field; in the west Karamay oil field; in the south Tarim oil field; and in the east Turpan-Hami oil field. What’s more, it is located in the middle of the Junggar coal storage strip and in the downtown, the coal reserve amounts to more than 10 billion tonnes, known as the “coal ship on the oil sea”. In addition, it abounds in non-ferrous and rare mineral resources. The glaciers and permanent snow in Tianshan Mountain are called "natural solid reservoir.” On the mountainous areas, there are lush natural forests and pastures and more than 300 species of exploitable wild plants. Light, heat and wind energy are also abundent. The largest wind power plant in Asia is located there. Those resources lay a solid foundation for the economic development of Urumqi.
Urumqi is the hub connecting China to Central Asia and Europe and has become an important city for China to expand westward and carry out sino-foreign economic and cultural exchanges. There are four major geological advantages for a city to become economically developed in the world, namely near the sea, the border, the river and the key commerce route, Urumqi boasts two of the four advantages: near the border and the key commerce route. In fact, these are the biggest advantages for Urumqi and Xinjiang. With the completion of the new Asia-Europe land bridge, Urumqi, the hub in western China, becomes increasingly important. Urumqi Airport is one of the five major airports in China with more than 100 international and domestic airlines. Urumqi railway station is the hub in Xinjiang railway systems and an important passenger and cargo distribution center in China and Central Asia, direct international and domestic trains reaching more than 20 pairs. An integrated highway network has also been established. Urumqi also has an advanced communication network. All of these constitute a modern three-dimensional "Silk Road" that puts Urumqi on the map.