The 359th Brigade Cultural Tourist Area in Taklimakan Desert, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region
(塔克拉玛干•三五九旅文化旅游区 Tǎ kè lā mǎ gān sān wǔ jǐu lǚ wén huà lǚ yóu qū)
Location: Alar city, Aksu city, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region
Scenic Spot Level: AAAAA
The cultural tourist area is located in Alar in the city of Aksu in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. One of the centers of the ancient Silk Road, Alar stretches from the southern slope of the Tianshan Mountains in the north all the way down to the northern edge of the Taklimakan Desert in the south. It is governed by the First Division of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
Consisting of such major attractions as the 359th Brigade Reclamation Memorial and the scenic area of the 11th Regiment's Gate of Desert, the cultural area is a primary tourist destination operated by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. It integrates red-tourism, agricultural sightseeing and desert sport activities.
After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the 359th Brigade stationed in Alar began constructing this oasis in the desert, including land reclamation and infrastructure building. The 424-kilometer Taklimakan Desert Highway is not only the earliest cross-desert highway in China, but also the world's longest that traverses shifting sand dunes. Generations of brigade soldiers conquered untold challenges, if not missions impossible, to build a pleasant living environment while keeping the potential enemy at bay. Their heroic spirits have become a hallmark of the region.
A series of recreational programs have been rolled out in the cultural tourism area, including agricultural sightseeing, camping, off-road desert driving, and desert recuperation. The cultural tourism area has held multiple motorsport competitions, drawing participants from across the country.