Pasture in Tianshan Mountains
Anyone who looks at a map of China may see a vast land marked in northwest China named “Xinjiang “. Xinjiang situated in extreme Northwest China and the central part of Euro-Asia Continent ,is surrounded hy mountain ranges,and far from any oceans of the world. To the northeast q fit is Mongolia. to the northwest are Russia, Kazakhstan,Kvrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Xinjiang also shares borders with Pakistan. Afhanistan as well as India in its south .The otal border lines are 5600 kilometers in length .And this geographical features determines that the vast land of Xinjiang has been a major link between Inland China and Central Aisa,Western and Eastern Asia as well as European countries of exchanges and a passage of the country to the other areas of the world.And it is also because of this special geographic position that Xinjiang has a long and colorful history,a zigzag but legendary development process and rich cultural heritages.
1. Connection between inland China and the Ancient Western Regions (Xinjiang) : Development of the Silk Road
Double-Face Jade Figure, Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BO) Unearthed from Fuhao Tomb, Anyang, Henan
Although Xinjiang and its people are proud of its vast land and richness of its resources, the remoteness and the back-wardness of its transportation make it exotic and mysterious that might suggest that this should be a closed land behind the time. Anyone who made a tour in Xinjiang would be attracted by its simple but "ancient" folk customs, would be marveled at the profound cultural traditions that are displayed in the murals buricd in the desert and Gobi as well as in the ruins of ancient towns. Meanwhile, anyone would be puzzled why there are so many ruins of ancient civilization and why the ancient civilizations of Western Regions were so diversified and splendid against such harsh enviromnent. The answers may be various but the most important are of the fact that there used to be a great channel of communication,passing through Xinjiang, linked the Inland China and Central Asia, Western Asia and as far as to Europe. This is the great channel which was termed by European scholars as the "Silk Road".