The entire region of Xinjiang features “two basins flanked by three mountains”. The “three mountains” refer to the Altay in the north, the Tianshan in the middle and the Kunlun and Karakorum in the south. The “two basins” are the Junggar in the north and the Tarim in the south. The Tianshan Mountains serve as an axis, dividing Xinjiang into the northern and southern parts, each with distinguishing natural conditions. Customarily, the area around Turpan and Hami is also called Eastern Xinjiang.
The Tianshan Mountains are the biggest mountain system in Asia, running about 2,500 kilometers east-west and 250-300 kilometers north-south. They are a combination of three roughly parallel mountain ridges, which produce a number of depressions and valleys with varying size and height, such as Ili Valley, Major and Minor Yoledus Depressions, Yanqi Depression, Turpan Depression and Hami Depression. The highest point of the Tianshan Mountains is Tomur Peak, 7,435.5 meters above sea level; the Bogda Peak stands at a height of 5,445 meters to the east of Urumqi. The Turpan Depression at the eastern end of the Tianshan Mountains is the lowest point on land in China, 154 meters below the sea level. The Altay Mountains are also known as the Gold Mountains for rich reserve of this precious metal there. The main body of the Altay Mountains is in Mongolia, running about 400 kilometers from northwest to southeast, with an average altitude of 2,000 to over 3,000 meters. The highest point is Youyi Peak, 4,373 meters above sea level. Both the Kunlun and Karakorum Mountains originate from the Pamirs and wind their way eastward side by side. The Karakorum Mountains extend into northern Tibet and connect with the Gandise Mountains; while the Kunlun Mountains run through the border of Xinjiang and Tibet and then reach into Qinghai and Sichuan Provinces. The Kunlun Mountains in Xinjiang are 1,800 kilometers long and 150 kilometers wide, with most of their ridges over 5,000 meters in altitude. The “three towers of Kunlun” are the Kongur Peak (7,719 meters), Kongurjobe Peak (7,595 meters) and Muztagata Peak (7,546 meters) Historia de china, lugares de visita, the latter also dubbed as Father of Ice Mountains. The Karakorum Mountains have an average altitude of 5,000-6,000 meters. The Chogori Peak stands at the border between China and Pakistan at a height of 8,611 meters, making it the second highest in the world and the highest in Xinjiang. The Pamirs, nicknamed as “Father of Thousands of Mountains”, is formed by the converging Karakorum, Tianshan and Hindu Kush Mountains.