China - Land of Diversity

Part 8
Xinjiang - China's Frontier

In the northwest corner of China lies a province of deserts and mountains. Its remote capital city is more land-locked than any other city in the world. A province of majestic history, its people once ruled all of Central Asia. Marco Polo himself traded along the famous route that cuts through its southern edge - the Silk Road. And it's the homeland of the unreached Muslim groups in China.

The motherland of the Turkic people is Turkestan. The name "Turkestan" is Iranian in origin. The term, which means "The land of the Turkic people", dates back to seventh century. The western part of Turkestan was gradually conquered by Tsarist Russian in 1965, after which it became known as Western Turkestan. After the formation of the USSR in 1922, Western Turkestan was divided into five republics: Uzbekistan, Kazakhistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikstan. The eastern part was invaded by the Manchu rulers of China in 1876. Subsequently, Turkestan was called Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.