Uyghur (ooey-GHUR say Uyghurs, WEE-gur say Americans), also spelled Uighur, is the name of an ethnic group of people mainly live in Xinjiang (means "new frontier" in Chinese) Uyghur Autonomous Region of China , and their language. Historically the term "Uyghur" means "united" or "allied", and was applied to a group of Turkic-speaking tribes that once ruled what is now Mongolia. The Uyghurs were one of the largest and most enduring Turkic peoples living in Central Asia.
Records show that the Uyghurs have a history of more than 4000 years. Situated along a section of the legendary Silk Road, Uyghurs played an important role in cultural exchanges between the East and West and developed a unique culture and civilization of their own. Uyghur culture is a rich lifestyle centred around the family, food, dance and music. Uyghur architecture, particularly their religious architecture is quite fine and as reflective of a glorious past. Uyghur religion has also played a major part in Uyghur culture and has has evolved through several transitions including Shamanism, Manachaeism, Buddhism and even Christianity before Islam became the predominate religion. Each has added indelibly to the richness of Uyghur culture.
Uyghur communities were typically based in oases or fertile valleys, growing cereals and fruit. The strategic importance of these oasis bazaars enabled many Uyghur traders to become key middlemen on the Silk Road caravan routes between the Orient and Europe.
Now, over 9.3 million Uyghurs live in Uyghur Region of China. Some major cities in the east and south of China also have small Uyghur communities. Several hundred thousand Uyghurs live in communities worldwide in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, in Turkey, Europe, North America and Australia.
More is coming ...