In Yongxin, a village administered by Urumqi around 30-km away, a gigantic monument shoots up into the sky -- this is the geographical center of the Asian continent.The Pole of Inaccessibility, the farthest point on land from the coastline, is in China's far west region of Xinjiang. But it is far from inaccessible. In fact, it is Xinjiang's unique position on the Silk Road -- ancient and modern -- that puts it on the map.Today, trains and planes have made modern Xinjiang better connected than ever before. As China's key trade gateway to Central and West Asia, the remote region's position as the heart of the Belt and Road Initiative is unmistakable.In Kashgar Old Town, southern Xinjiang,local people play cheerful dutar-tabour musics at the door of their wooden handicraft street shop.Archaeological digs have unearthed evidence that the Chinese four-stringed pipa was played here 1,100 years ago. The influence of India and Persia can be seen in local stringed instruments such as the dutar or rewap. And the Yangqin, a Chinese hammered dulcimer with roots in western Asia, also found its way to Xinjiang thanks to the ancient trade routes.Just like the music, the ancient Silk Road, and the people, languages and products that travelled along it made Xinjiang what it is today: a cultural patchwork.Once an oasis in the vast sand, Kashgar was an important staging post. A place where travelers, carriages and camels rested before continuing their trek on the Silk Road.
In contrast to the bazaars on the winding old lanes of Kashgar, shopping malls in the modern metropolis of Urumqi are crowded with young people going to the movies, dinner, or shopping in fast fashion retailers like Zara and H&M.Urumqi is very different now from 20 years ago.It has been more and more convenient for people who live and travel here.They can take buses,Brt(Bus Rapid Transit ),and even the metro to every coner they want in the city.Apart from the metro and other urban transportation, a 1,776-km high-speed railway connects Urumqi to the neighboring province of Gansu, and from there, passengers can catch more trains to the far-flung corners of China.Products from home and abroad are also on the move. Goods from Chinese coastal provinces pass along the tracks and through Urumqi freight logistics center to get to Europe in just one-third of the time it would take by sea.
Horgos, meaning "a place where caravans pass" in Mongolian, was once a busy passage used by traders traveling along the ancient Silk Road. It became a border pass between China and Kazakhstan in 1881. Today, the caravans are a distant memory, in their place are fleets of vehicles at the city's port, which has been revitalized by the Belt and Road Initiative.The cooperation center is the world's only duty-free shopping center spanning two countries. People from China and Kazakhstan cross-country shop here without a visa, and pay little or no tax at all.With faster transportation and more robust trade brought by the BRI boosting Xinjiang's economy, seafood is no long a luxury in the city farthest from sea. Lobsters and groupers from Pakistan can reach Urumqi within 34 hours through air transport.
We can't deny that the silk road brought plenty of conveniences and changes to Xinjiang.More and more people are willing to travel and do business in Xinjiang,the extraordinary and essential part of China.