Sunday, May 27, 2007

Alpine beauty.... in the middle Western China

You won't find people yodelling or little girls called 'Heidi' amongst these picturesque, snow-capped mountains but you will be able to get a plate of spicy fried noodles.



Incredibly, this Alpine landscape is in Western China, in a region known as Tianshan (Mountain of Heaven). It lies within the snappily-named Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region which sits snugly between Tibet to the south, Kazakhstan to the west and Mongolia to the East. 'Apr├ęs ski' country, this ain't.

The nearest town (and main tourist hub) is Urumqi, claimed to be the most inland city in the world.

Once a barren land of snow and ice, centuries of climate change have turned Tianshan into a place of green fields and clear mountain streams. It's also a steadily growing tourist attraction as a writer for Chinaculture.org describes:

"Wanting to enjoy the scene I decided to have an early lunch at an open-air restaurant. It was so relaxing. Sitting there in the sunshine I enjoyed a large plate of spicy fried noodles while cows and horses grazed close by. Boats carried tourists across the lake's calm blue waters.

I kept thinking that I had finally made it to one of the most attractive places in China. My dream had come true."




Read the full article here.

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