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Urumqi (China)

Cooperation Agreement with Chelyabinsk signed in 2004.

Urumqi is the largest and the most dynamically developing city in the North -West region of China, it is the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Urumqi is the largest city in the world with the record distance remoteness from the sea (2500km).
Through the whole history the city changed its name several times. Today Urumqi means "Beautiful Pasture" translated from the ancient Mongolian language. The population of Urumqi began to grow only at the end of 1960s when the large -scale governmental resettlement program from the East regions of the country was started aimed to integrate the region into the cultural and language environment of Chinese titled social layers. Today it is the city with the population about 2,1 mln pp. which is divided into 8 districts and 1 okrug. The city total area is about 49,3 km square.

According to the results of the population census of the 2000 the Chinese people (1,567mln pp.) prevail in the ethnic composition of the city. The largest national minority belongs to the Turkic Uighurs and counts 266 thousand pp. In the religious sphere the majority of the citizens are atheists (Chinese people mostly), Islamic religion is in the second place and is practiced by the Uighurs, Dungans and Kazaks (about one fourth of the city population)
The Linguistic situation has also changed compared to the middle of the last century. Chinese language dominates utterly and Uighurs, Dungans and Kazaks who don't have an appropriate level of Chinese language have difficulties in moving up through the ranks.
Back in the day Urumqi used to be an important point of the Silk Road route. Nowadays it is one of the main centers of the North-West China. The city is famous in Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States for its multiple shopping malls and international exhibitions, largest furniture and building markets. Today Urumqi is the main and practically the only large industrially developed city that provides the bulk of the gross domestic product in the North-West China. The city is also the hugest transfer station of Lanzhou Xinjiang Railway that is part of the Almaty Beijing International Railway.
In the vicinity of the city the landscapes with marvelous mountain terrains, high altitude lakes, rivers, caves, and waterfalls with the rich flora and fauna, ruins of the ancient Gaochang town surrounded with the pristine wilderness and the famous Thousand Buddha Caves, the monument in the custody of UNESCO.
Urumqi has a lot of sights itself, for instance, Tien Shan Zoo (the largest in China), and the Islamic Grand Bazaar that is so popular with tourists and is an essence of the culture of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The main sight of Urumqi is the Sacred Lake located in Tien Shan Mountains.
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