Xinjiang's capital and largest city, Ürümqi is at the geographic center of Asia, and has the distinction of being the most landlocked city in the world. It's a new city by Chinese standards, little more than barracks for Qing Dynasty troops when it was built in 1763. Once a sleepy trading post, Ürümqi has grown to be a sprawling city, with more than 2.7 million inhabitants. Yet despite this modernization, Ürümqi manages

to conjure up the past, especially in the Uyghur-populated area near the International Grand Bazaar.

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