From Urumqi I took a bus (3 hours) to Turpan, a lively city in the desert which has earned the nickname Green Pearl City and which was an important stop on the ancient Silk Road. The city really feels like an oasis with its many trees, man-made lakes and even a grape valley (which does not produce very tasty wine, I heard). In Turpan, I stayed at a fantastic hostel:
When I arrived in the afternoon, I walked around the city to get an impression how people live in Turpan. It was around 33 degrees Celsius, and I can't even begin to imagine how hot it must be in summer! While walking, I passed a beautiful mosque.
The top sight in Turpan is the Emin Minaret, which is the tallest minaret in China and which was built in 1777. It stands next to an Uyghur mosque which is also called Emin, after a local general. It was quite a walk in this heat, but worth it!
At night, I had dinner at a restaurant looking out on the man-made lake in the city center. I ordered really nice but very spice tofu, they brought me four glasses of water with it! Afterwards I went back to the hostel where I met some great people who were travelling the world: a German and a Canadian guy. At night we sat on the roof of the hostel, drinking Chinese beer until the sun came up.