Ürümqi is situated at the heart of Uyghur Region of Xinjiang, in northwestern China. The city’s name in local language means “fine pasture”. It is located in a fertile belt of oases along the northern slope of the eastern Tien Shan range. The area first came under full Chinese control in the 7th and 8th centuries AD.
Situated along the ancient Silk Roads, the city became an important center for caravans on the Silk Roads traveling onto the Ili River Valley from the main route across Turkistan region. Ürümqi thus was a major hub on the Silk Roads during China's Tang Dynasty, having developed a reputation as an important commercial and cultural center during the Qing Dynasty.
In 2005, the Xinjiang Silk Road Museum was opened in Ürümqi which gives a broad overview of Chinese civilization along the Silk Roads and local ethnic cultures.