Founded six decades ago, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is one of China's five autonomous regions designated for ethnic minorities, inhabited by 47 ethnic groups including Han, Uygur, Kazak, Hui, Mongolian, Kirgiz, Uzbek and Russian populations. The region boasts a treasure trove of ethnic cultures. People of all ethnic groups are able to uphold their cultural practices and live together in harmony.
In ancient times, Xinjiang was one of the hubs connecting the West and the East, with the famed Silk Road passing through it. It's geographic location which has made Xinjiang so accommodating of a diverse range of traditions.
After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, and the establishment of the region in 1955, its people have witnessed tremendous progress both economically and socially. A series of photographs, chosen by China Daily, highlight just some aspects of the lives of the region's 22 million people.
Herdsmen of the Tajik ethnic group catch sheep in an event steeped in tradition to welcome spring in the Tashi Kuergan Tajik autonomous county in Xinjiang, on March 18. JIANG WENYAO/XINHUA
Kazakh villagers celebrate the Nowruz festival in Saerqiaoke township, in Xinjiang's Barkol Kazakh autonomous county, against a majestic backdrop. The annual festival is a holiday for Kazakh and Uygur ethnic groups and they mark it during the spring equinox, the beginning of the new year. ZHANG JIANGANG/CHINA DAILY
Sheep are carried by herdsmen in a race in Yanchi township, Yiwu county, to celebrate the harvest in August.LI HUA/XINHUA
Hamdulla, 78, and his wife visit a melon fair in Xinjiang's Hami prefecture in July. The Hami melon, a type of cantaloupe, with an off-white, yellow, pink or green rind, derives its name from Hami, which was registered nationally as the birthplace of the fruit. LI XIONGXIN/CHINA DAILY
Women examine cloth at the Kashgar Grand Bazaar. Bazaar, originating from Persian, means market or fair, and this one covers an area of 200,000 square meters. Kashgar, rich in history, is a modern major distribution center and played an important role on the Silk Road.SHEN QIAO/XINHUA
Uygur artists perform traditional dances for tourists at the Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar in Urumqi, one of the largest in the world. WANG FEI/XINHUA (Source - china daily)
Photos of people perform dance during an activity to display local intangible cultural heritage in Changji, northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, June 8, 2013. Photo: Xinhua
Photos of people dance at the Maigaiti Dolan Culture Square in Maigaiti County, northwest China's Xingjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, June 29, 2014. Maigaiti County, known as the "home of Dolan", has taken measures to protect and inherit the world intangible cultural heritage "Dolan Muqam" since April 2012. (Xinhua/Jin Liangkuai)
Xinjiang's cultural heritage, as well as her colorful ethnic customs and natural ecological civilization, make it one of China's leading tourist destinations, and the song and dance of Xinjiang people is the highlights.
Xinjiang Uighur is China's ethnic group who are good at singing and dancing, and the folk dance of Kashgar is a treasure of Chinese dance art, so Kashgar in Xinjiang is also known as “the home of song and dance”. In Kashgar, both young and old, they will spontaneously dance with the music. The beautiful dance with the pace of light, particularly the pliable and flexible wrists and neck increases the beauty of dance. Uygur dance has a strong sense of rhythm, sometimes fast while sometimes slow. All the dance movements reflect the daily life of Uighur. (source - chinatouronline)
On the morning of October 1, 2015, people in Xinjiang once again showcase their rich cultural heritage.
Nearly 10,000 masses in splendid attire are dancing and singing there to celebrate the 66th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the 60th anniversary of founding of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region at The People’s Square in Urumqi.
The People's Square in Urumqi was bustling and turned into a Sea of Joy with this grand celebration! (Photos - Tianshannet/Zhao Yong)