Urumqi is the capital of Xinjiang Province, situated in a gap in the Tian Shan, or Heavenly, Mountains. It is a place where many cultural strands run together. Han Chinese and Uighur Turkic Chinese are the main ethnic groups. But Kazaks and a number of other groups are also strong. 20,000 foot peaks, grasslands, desert, forests and lakes; Urumqi, a major industrial city, is surrounded by the all.

Some of these photos are from a trek into the Tian Shan where we had a chance to hike around Tianchi, one of China's most famous mountain resorts. There we visited a Taoist temple, built with Taiwanese money. The temple was dedicated to the Queen Mother of the West, an early mytho-historical ruler of this region.

Other shots come from the lively downtown markets of Urumqi including Er Dao Qiao market and the city's enormous food market.

Both sets were taken while traveling with a Primary Source study-tour of the Silk Road in August of 2001.