Urumchi, a city of about 3 million people located in the far west of the People's Republic of China, is the capital of the Chinese province of Xinjiang.

Historically Urumchi was a thriving center of trade along the Silk Road, and until recently, a thriving center of Uyghur culture, but as a consequence of the Chinese government's policy of encouraging Han Chinese immigration to Xinjiang in order to dilute Uyghur nationalism, most traces of Uyghur culture have been erased from Urumchi.

Today, Urumchi looks about as drab, overdeveloped, and overpolluted as any other major Chinese city. Still, because most of the flights from Beijing go to Urumchi, it is an important stopping off point on the way to see what actually remains of Uyghur culture, farther afield in places like Kashgar.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Urumchi is the city on Earth which is farthest away from any ocean in all directions.

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