Shihezi - scientific and industrial center of Xinjiang
Young city on the ancient Silk Road
Shihezi is one of the largest cities in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Its population is about 650,000, 95 percent of which accounts for Han. Along with Urumqi, Shihezi is considered the largest administrative, industrial and educational center of Xinjiang.
Shihezi was granted the status of a city only in 1947, when the first rural settlements sprang up there. The community gradually began to expand and built the first industrial enterprises, which provided the locals with jobs. Thus, Shihezi grew rapidly and became the second largest city in modern Xinjiang.
The city is located on the west bank of the Manas River. Once, in ancient times, close to the city ran the Great Silk Road, but the caravans did not stop there, at least no physical evidence confirming this fact was preserved to the present day. Perhaps there was a small staging post or a settlement, as the city was situated in the picturesque countryside near the waterway.
Today Shihezi is more a scientific and industrial center of Xinjiang. It is famous for its food industry. It grows sugar beets and produces sugar. Since recently Shihezi began to grow cotton, which is already competitive in the world market. Another feature of the city is a new railway, which connects Urumqi, Shihezi and Usu. This is currently the only railway in Xinjiang, connecting relatively long sections of the line.
The city has one of the largest universities in Xinjiang, which is one of the main attractions of Shihezi. Its enrollment is almost 40,000 students, just a record number by the standards of East Turkestan.
The city itself is quite beautiful and modern. There are many entertainment centers and restaurants where you can have traditional food or order dishes more usual for the Europeans. Since Shihezi is a relatively young city, there are no historical attractions, but Shihezi dynamics and great potential attract each year more and more tourists from all over the world.