Urumqi is situated at the heart of Uygur 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 Road, the city became an important center for caravans on the Silk Road traveling onto the Ili River Valley from the main route across Turkistan. Urumqi thus was a major hub on the Silk Road 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 Urumqi which gives a broad overview of Chinese civilization along the Silk Road and local ethnic cultures.