Urumqi, the biggest city you’ve never heard of

After a thousand years, it's again the capital of Central Asia.

After a thousand years, it’s again the capital of Central Asia.

It is the city set furthest from any sea in the world and for centuries its geographic location rendered it marginal. Yet in the wake of China’s economic rise, Urumqi is reclaiming its bygone importance, when it was the crossroads of Central Asia during the ‘Silk Road’ era. Today, it is considered a crucial mainstay of China’s geopolitical expansion: these scarcely populated north-west territories provide the kind of elbow room it needs to fuel its economic boom and consolidate its role as a world power.

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