Urumqi Regional Museum

Urumqi Regional Museum - a research and education center of Xinjiang

The Regional Museum in Urumqi is one of the most modern buildings in the city. It is also called the Xinjiang Regional Museum, as it collected artifacts from all over autonomous region to demonstrate not only of the Uighur culture, but also the culture of other nationalities living in the territory of Xinjiang. In addition, the museum contains numerous exhibits relating to different periods of the history of East Turkestan.

The Xinjiang Regional Museum was built in 1953 in traditional Uyghur style. Museum has been repaired and restored several times, so now it looks more like a modern building with elements of Uyghur architecture, being undoubtedly one of the main architectural features of the museum.

The museum is also a research and education center, consisting of exhibition halls and centers for study of Xinjiang history and culture. The total area of the museum together with all the buildings is around 8,000m2. The museum is considered one of the largest in its size and the number of exposed artifacts, amounting to almost 50,000.

One of the major collections of the museum is an exhibition of objects related to the Great Silk Road. This section has collected various silk clothing, exported abroad in the Middle Ages, as well as everything related to the artifacts found in various caravan routes, once crossing Eastern Turkestan.

Perhaps the most valuable and the most famous exhibits in the museum are considered 10 mummies, called “the singing dead of the Taklimakan Desert”. These mummies, aged about 4,000 years, were found last century near Urumqi. The find became a sensational discovery because all the bodies belonged to representatives of the European race. Thanks to the dry climate and desert soils all the bodies were preserved almost intact. All 10 mummies were buried with their mouths open, thus they were named “the singing dead”.

These mummies are associated with many scientific conjectures and hypotheses. It is believed that they all belong to the Loulan Kingdom, extinct in the I millennium, and preserved only in ruins of the cities in the desert and these 10 mummies. The central figure in the collection is the “Loulan Princess” - the mummy of a four-thousand-year-old woman whose facial features still strike with its typically European beauty.

When visiting the Regional Museum in Urumqi, you seem to find yourself in another Xinjiang. It is there, where all the most prominent findings revealed in the Taklamakan Desert among the ruins of ancient cities are kept.