Urumqi Walking Tour | Uyghur Culture in Xinjiang’s Capital (UPDATE: Now Destroyed)

Urumqi Walking Tour | Uyghur Culture in Xinjiang’s Capital (UPDATE: Now Destroyed)


Hey…so you have a little extra time here
in Urumqi, you don’t want to be sitting in your hotel room but then again all the travel
guides don’t really give you too many options outside of the Grand Bazaar and maybe some
places a few hours outside of the city. So what is there to do? Well, I’m going to introduce you to a place
that I really enjoy. I always take people who are first time visitors to Urumqi here.
It’s the alleyways north of the ErDaoQiao market. The ErDaoQiao market is across the
street from the Grand Bazaar, the more famous place here in Urumqi. But really, this is
a great place to experience the Uyghur culture that you’re not going to see in the main streets
of Urumqi. So let’s go ahead and take a look inside, see what you can see. What I love about this walk down the back
alleys of Urumqi is that you get to see a side of the city, you get to see facets of
the Uyghur culture that perhaps you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see on the main
streets of the capital. So for instance things like the mosque, witnessing a lot of the elder
men sitting outside the mosque chatting. Getting to look inside the stores that aren’t necessarily
selling things geared toward tourists but rather practical items like clothing, rugs,
Uyghur medicine and so on. There is, of course, a lot of the food stalls
that are selling everything from Uyghur bread to just hole-in-the-wall restaurants that
you can try out. What I really love is when the night market comes alive and you get people
of all ages just coming out to enjoy the cooler weather, especially during the summer. And
that’s when I suggest that you make sure you have some small bills handy because you’re
gonna want to try things like Uyghur ice cream that you see here which, trust me when I say,
it tastes as good as it looks. You might even want a couple different servings – and it
really is cheap! You’re going to want to try the ice cream,
you’re going to want to try the fresh fruit that comes in from all different parts of
the province and is absolutely sweet and delicious. You’re going to want to try some of the drinks
and the snacks that perhaps you don’t know exactly what it is but you’re gonna want to,
you know, give it a go anyway. There are, of course, things like liver kebabs
and intestine soup that maybe may not seem as appetizing but hey, at least you can take
some photos. All in all, it’s a side of the city that isn’t
geared toward tourists and I think that’s what I love most is getting to see the “real
Urumqi”. So if we’re looking here at a map, you can
see on JieFang Lu we’ve got the ErDaoQiao market. The ErDaoQiao market is actually very
long and if you look to the right side there’s a road that goes all the way down on the north
end of ErDaoQiao market. Youre going to want to take that road, walk all the way down until
you can get to the first road where you can take a right. You’re going to do so until
you hit a hospital. It’s going to be the tallest building that’s around. That hospital is going
to be the marker for you to turn right into the alley. And that alley is just going to
wind around for quite a long distance. That is where you’re going to begin your journey
through this back alley of Urumqi.

50 thoughts on “Urumqi Walking Tour | Uyghur Culture in Xinjiang’s Capital (UPDATE: Now Destroyed)

  1. Xinjiang is so high on my list!! Really would like to go there. Hopefully soon before a lot of the authenticity will be gone.

  2. I am so happy to see so many Uyghur in Urumqi, and the life there is interesting. It’s not like what I use to hear that, the whole place is filled by the Han Chinese. All the best Xinjiang!

  3. Very nice suggestions for ways to get a real sense of the Xinjiang culture.  The video quality is excellent too.  I feel like I'm there on the streets right now!

  4. Urumqi is NOT the "home of the uighurs".  uighurs are not even native to Urumqi WHICH IS IN NORTHERN XINJIANG.  The home of the uighurs is in SOUTHERN Xinjiang.  The uighurs only first started MIGRATING to Urumqi IN NORHTERN XINJIANG in the 1800s and the vast majority of uighurs in NORTHERN Xinjiang migrated during the 1960s and 70s.  Still uighurs are a small minority in Urumqi as Urumqi is over 80% Han (Chinese).

    NORTHERN Xinjiang is called the "Dzungharian Basin".  AGAIN, the "indigenous home" of the uighurs is in the south in the region called the "Tarim Basin".  There were no – NONE WHATSOEVER – uighurs in the Dzungharian basin until the 1800s.  The Dzunghar basin is the native lands of Mongol and Kazakh peoples NOT uighurs.

    In the mid-1700s a long war between the Mongol Dzunghar Khanate and the Qing empire resulted in a total Qing victory and the Dzunghar population nearly wiped out.  At that time Czarist Russia was expanding into the region and the Qing rulers, concerned about Russian encroachment on the depopulated Dzunghar basin, began to push and encourage Han(Chinese) and Hui(Chinese muslims) migration into the Dzunghar basin.  The Han/Chinese migrants turned an old Dzunghar Mongol fort into the the city of Urumqi.  It should be pointed out that while the Dzunghar basin is relatively semi-arid, it is surrounded by high mountains so there are many streams that flow into the basin.  As a result the Han migrants soon turned the natural pastures of the Dzunghar basin into vast agricultural tracts.  Thus NORTHERN Xinjiang/Dzunghar basin, despite being semi-arid, is a rich agricultural region.

    As the Han/Chinese migrants began to economically develop NORTHERN Xinjiang/Dzunghar basin, it began to attract uighurs from SOUTHERN Xinjiang in the 1800s.  However, the numbers of uighur migrants into NORTHERN Xinjiang remained relatively small.  After the 1949 Chinese Communist revolution, the communist began to push for the economic development of NORTHERN Xinjiang because NORTHERN Xinjiang is very rich in resources (plus it has a LOT of agriculture potential).  So thus a new push of Han migrants started in the 1950s.

    Well NOT surprisiing, as NORTHERN Xinjiang/Dzunghar started to economically develop, uighurs FROM MUCH POORER SOUTHERN Xinjiang start to migrate into NORTHERN Xinjiang in the 1960s and 70s.  So the uighurs ONLY MIGRATED INTO NORTHERN XINJIANG AFTER THE HAN/CHINESE WERE ALREADY THERE FOR OVER 200 YEARS.  So thus today, the population of NORTHERN Xinjiang is nearly 80++% Han/Chinese and less than 10% uighur, with the rest being Mongol and Kazakh.

    IT NEEDS TO BE POINTED OUT that, the NATIVE INDIGENOUS Mongol and Kazakh population of NORTHERN Xinjiang are VERY assimilated with the Han/Chinese.  In fact, many persons that are identified as "Han" in NORTHERN Xinjiang are actually ethnically Mongol or Kazakh (both groups have "oriental" features) that have been "Sinicized".

  5. Although it's too short, it's a really great video. Thanks for sharing! <3
    I want to add that the bazaars remind me of the ones in Turkey and the tasty-looking Uyghur ice-cream reminds me of the Kurdish "Maraş Dondurması". I hope to see Urumqi as soon as possible because one of my best friends lives there. 🙂

  6. thanks for sharing. this is my home city too. I was born and grow up there. no place in the world can make me feel so close and touching like urumqi. welcome all you guys!

  7. I haven't been to my hometown in over 11 years. It's been too long for me, and I can't wait to go there with my family. Thank you for having so much interest in Urumqi and that general area.

  8. I noticed in eastern China it was pronounced "Urum-chi", with the pause almost like an added vowel.
    After spending time in the west, that seemed an east-coast accent, much as names are pronounced differently in the US depending on the locale.
    Or for that matter, ask a northern or southern German to pronounce a word with an umlaut…

  9. Urumqi is a Mongolian name. Mongols named this place. Uygurs immigrants came to Xinjiang later. Stop lying about your own history uygurs. If you want a country,, go back to Mongol where you came from. Its pathetic to lying about your own history.

  10. It really breaks my heart to see what struggle the people here are going through.
    It'll be all lovely and peaceful one day for all of China, God willing.

  11. The night bazaars are all closed now following the domestic violence a year or so after this video was taken.

  12. This street and area are all closed off now. Police stations set up at every entrance. Uyghur area inside the enclosure eerily quiet. Likely that most of them either got sent back to southern xinjiang and some to re-education camps.

  13. Han Facist Racist Communist owho control China are killing the Uyghur,Tibetans,Mongolians and Zhuang .These Han are first class liars and cheats. Cheating and hiding their brutality,cruelty and massacre of the Muslims and the Tibetan minorities. Today Urumchi has been cleared of Uyghur culture and has been occupied by Han from South China.

  14. I hope you enjoyed this look back into the history of the Uyghur culture in Urumqi, Xinjiang. It's a shame that this neighborhood has since been torn down, but you can't stop progress, right? If you're going to be traveling to Xinjiang, make sure to buy a copy of my FarWestChina Xinjiang travel guide, the most comprehensive guide that will show you everything you need to do in Urumqi, Turpan, Kashgar and anywhere else in Xinjiang! https://www.xjtravelguide.com

  15. Hey I have a question, did u hear abt the camps in China abt holding uighers? B/c I’m not trusting my news source so I was wondering r u still in China for example Xianjiang. Do u think there is these camps? Cuz I dunno wat to believe some news source say it’s real some say it’s not.

  16. La mejor observacion es la que se hace desde un mirador o un edificio alto, es para situar si exite en el contexto urbanistico una plaza o un jardin, un mercado o una iglesia(de cualquier religion)

  17. I came here after watching Isobel Yeung’s recent documentary about Uyghurs. Now, I’m speechless. What happened?! 🤯🤯

  18. I went for Silk Road trip with my friends. We had bad experienced from Turpan to Urumqi. Every depot or pit stop we need to went out from our transport for security checked, scanned our passports, faces 😅. Some of the officers know when we said we are Malaysian. But not all of them can communicate in English. Luckily we hired tour guide. When we were at Emin Minaret, the security guards requested us to took off our head scarf before entered the mosque. However we refused to follow their instruction. After some arguments, one of duty officers came out and allowed us to entered. Anyway we enjoyed our trip and currently plan to visit other side of China ie; Zhangjiajie, Lanzhou, Jilin, Harbin and so on. Although we have communication problems at China, we still enjoy to learn about their cultures, people, foods and many best places to visit.

  19. This is sooo interesting. As a western person I don't know alot about China. And most of the places I know something about are in the east. Seeing this is really interesting. Thank you😊

  20. Unfortunately these happens all over China, not only in Xinjiang. Most of the City old streets have given way to shopping centers. That being said, most developing city would do that.

  21. I have been in Canada for 50 years. Just came back from a 18
    days tour in Xinjiang. Here is my experience during the tour: I talked to couple
    of Taxi drivers. They said their business is getting better last 3 years
    because there is night market now. 3 years ago, no one walk on the street in
    the night because some bad guys fighting on the street with knife all the time.
    Now, policemen took these bad guys to re-educate them. Let them learn some
    skill, such as reading, writing, driving, plumping, electrician etc. So, after
    they get out of the education program, they can find a job. If they have job,
    have money, no one want to be a bad guy. I talked to a 24 years old waitress,
    she and her husband both are high school graduates. Last couple of years, they
    bought a house and now they are going to buy a car. I traveled around the
    world, I feel Xinjiang is the safest place in the world now. I would suggest you
    to visit Xinjiang to see it with your own eye. Don’t rely on news media.

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