Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regeion in the western frontier of China is the geographical center of Asia with the central-eastern part of Asia to its east and Central Asia and Europe to its west. It is one of the main passageways on Eurasia. In ancient times it was a key area on the Silk Road. A transportation network with highways as its mainstay, railways as its trunk lines and air routes as supplementary lines covers all the cities and towns in Xinjiang and links Xinjiang with the outside world.
There are 14 airports (including three jointly operated by the Chinese army and civilians). The aviation network radiates from a modern international airport in Urumqi. Over 80 domestic flights connect Xinjiang with major cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing, and so on. A dozen local flights shuttle between Qiemo, Hotan and Kahsi. There are also international flights to Almaty, Tashkent and new Siberia.
Within the boundaries of Xinjiang there are the Lanzhou-Urumqi Railway, the Beijiang Railway (from Urumqi to Alataw Shankou) and the Nanjiang Railway (from Turpan to Kashi). The Beijiang Railway, connected with a railway in Kazakhstan, links Lianyungang Port in East China with Rotterdam Port in Netherlands across Eurasia and with the two economic spheres around the Pacific and Atlantic.
A highway transportation network with Urumqi as its center has taken shape in Xinjiang. Seven national highways crisscross the region. Three national highways, 312, 314 and 315, run approximately along the northern route, middle route and southern route of the Silk Road from east to west. Four national highways, 216, 217, 218 and 219 and Taklimakan Desert Highway, run from north to south. The Taklimakan Desert Highway is 522 kilometers long. Such a long highway through a desert is rare in the world. Highways connect the government seats of all the prefectures, municipalities and counties in Xinjiang. Major tourist attractions are accessible by public bus along these highways.