Study of the physical features of East Turkistan

Map of East Turkistan, and it’s 10 neighbouring countries

East Turkistan is the land of Uyghurs and other minorities such as Kazakhs, Kyrgyzs, Uzbeks, Tatars and Tajiks. Many might think this region is located in the East because of its name. However, East Turkistan is in the northwest of China and it lies in the heart of Central Asia. The territory area is 1.82 million square kilometers, which is twice as large as the Republic of Turkey and four times as large as the state of California. It is enormous!

East Turkestan has a diverse geography. More than 43% of the region is covered with deserts and another 40% is covered by mountain ranges. East Turkestan is overlaid by beautiful rivers, lakes, grasslands and forests. One of its mountains is called Tengritagh Mountain, also known as Heavenly Mountains.  Ten countries surround East Turkistan: China and Mongolia to the East, Russia to the North, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the West and Tibet to the South. 

East Turkistan was an independent country, the motherland of Uyghurs, before 1949, when China officially took possession of this territory and documented it as Xinjiang, which means “new territory” or “new border”. 

Uyghur Culture, little boy waring Uyghur traditional Doppa

The land is mainly the home to the Turkic Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities. Uyghurs were a majority in East Turkistan, until the Chinese government decided to colonize it. The ancient Silk Road, the old trade route linking Asia to the Middle East, passes through East Turkistan, a legacy that can be seen in the traditional open-air bazaars of Oasis cities, Hotan and Kashgar. East Turkistan has 14 provinces, 32 major cities and 87 small cities and towns. 

Urumqi is the capital of East Turkistan. Some of the land’s famous and historic cities are Kashgar, Ghulja, Turpan, Hotan and Oasis.


Old-City of Kashgar, Mud houses