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Home Travel in Xinjiang Tianshan Mountain
Tianshan Mountain
Travel in Xinjiang

The Tianshan Mountain
The Tianshan Mountain
(tiān shān 天山), renowned for its natural beauty, lies in the middle of the vast area of China’s Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region (xīn jiāng wéi wú ěr zì zhì qū 新疆维吾尔自治区). There the far-stretching Gobi Desert (gē bì shā mò 戈壁沙漠), grand icy peaks and snow-covered mountains, quiet valleys and vast expanse of grassland plus the hospitable, music and dance-loving ethnic minorities with different folk customs are major attractions for tourists to explore mysteries on the Silk Road.


Tianshan Mountain is a large mountain range in central Asia, running through central Xinjiang of China, with the west end stretching into Kazakhstan. In ancient times, the Tianshan Mountain was referred to as the Northern Mountain, Snow Mountain, White Mountain, and Shade Mountain. The mountain extends for 1,700 kilometers inside China, with an average altitude of around 5,000 meters. The three big rivers in Xinjiang-the Syr Darya (xī ěr hé 锡尔河), Chu The Tianshan MountainRiver (chǔ hé 楚河) and Yili River (yī lí hé 伊犁河) all have their sources in the mountain. The overall Tianshan Mountain chain is composed of three ranges. They are: North Tianshan Mountain, Central Tianshan Mountain and South Tianshan Mountain from the north to south. The massif of Tianshan Mountain is comprised of three parts: mountainous area, intermountain basin and piedmont plain.
The snowy peak of Tianshan Moutain-Bogda Peak (bó gé dá fēng 博格达峰), is covered with snow all the year round and thus nicknamed “the sea of snow”. On the mountainside of Bogda Peak, there’s a lake called “Tianchi” (meaning “heavenly lake”). It is 1,900 meters above sea level and as deep as 90 meters. The crystal-clear lake water is made up of melted ice and snow. The lake is like a big mirror reflecting the snow-white peak and emerald-green spruce trees. The picturesque spot is a famous tourist attraction.  

Tianshan Mountain is in the northwestern tip of China. It’s been a key passageway linking China and central and west Asia since ancient times. The north and south Muzart  (mù zhā ěr tè 木扎尔特) river valleys in the east of Tumur Peak (tuō mù ěr fēng 托木尔峰) were a key branch of the ancient Silk Road.
A Temple in Tianshan Mountain 
There are lots of places of historic interest and scenic beauty around Tianchi, including Fushou Temple (fú shòu sì 福寿寺) commissioned by Emperor Qianlong (qián lóng huáng dì 乾隆皇帝) of the Qing Dynasty (qīng cháo 清朝). As the temple was built with black bricks and iron tiles, it’s also called "the iron-tile temple (tiě wǎ sì 铁瓦寺)". There are the ruins of Dongyue Temple (dōng yuè miào 东岳庙) in the west of Tianchi and Wuji Temple (wú jí sì 无极寺) not far from the lake. All these places have added humanistic charm to Tianshan Mountain.   

Tianchi Lake

Tianchi LakeThe Tianshan Mountain is quite rich in water resources, owing to the large winter snowfall and water-preserving forest. Tianchi Lake (Heavenly Lake) is located on the halfway up the Peak Bogeda. A renowned scenic spot, Tianchi, also called Jasper Lake in ancient times, is said to be the place where Emperor Zhoumu (zhōu mù wáng 周穆王) and the Queen Mother of the West (xī wáng mǔ 西王母) held court feasts. Tianchi Lake is a moraine lake formed more than 2 million years ago when the Quaternary Period glaciers were active. The thawed snow from the mountains gathered in the lake and the green water shimmers in the soft breeze and warm sunshine and now is very clean. Tianchi is embraced by snowy mountains which are covered by towering dragon spruces. Falling from a northeast cliff, Tianchi water forms a waterfall, which through erosion has created a pool below — called East Little Tianchi. The East Little Tianchi was once very large, but now shrank due to the blocking of the alluvial soil. Tianchi water flows to Sangong River (sān gōng hé 三工河). The Tianshan Mountain is also abundant in forest and animal resources. Apart from the dragon spruces, condense-leaf poplars and birches, there are extensively-spread medicinal herbs or edible plants.

Legend of Tianchi Lake

The Statue of  West QueenAs if the natural beauty of Heavenly Lake were not enough, legend adds a mysterious touch. It is said that the West Queen (Xi Wang Mu) entertained King Mu of the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100B.C.-771B.C.) at the Lake. The West Queen fell in love with the king and asked him in her poem, 'The white clouds drift while the mountains reach the blue sky. Passing thousands of mountains, crossing ten thousands of rivers, you come to us from a faraway place. If you are still strong and fine, would you like to come back to us again?' The king answered in his poem, 'After I go back to central China and lead the people to a prosperous life, I will come to you again.'


Entrance Charge: CNY 100 (Apr. to Oct.);
                         CNY 40 (Nov. to Mar.)
Cable Car: CNY 35
Barge Tour: CNY 30
Electric Bus: CNY 10