Uyghur People

Where they live:
China, Kazakhstan, and smaller groups in other Central Asian countries
Total population:
10 million
Language Branch:
Altaic, Turkic, Uyguric, Western, Uyghur
Sunni Islam
Related to:
Uzbek, Yugur and other Turkic peoples


The Uyghur people (Also spelled Uygur, Uighur, Uigur) who are a Turkic people of Central Asia. They live mostly in a land what used to be known (Still is my some people) as Turkistan (Land of the Turks) or Uyghurstan (Land of the Uyghurs). An other name for their home is East Turkistan. It is called this because Uyghurs are said to be the most Eastern of the Central Asian Turks. Now their land is known to most now as Xinjiang which is a region in the People's Republic of China. However they live in other places too. Uyghur people can be seen in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Germany and Turkey.



Made by HistoryGirl (Uyghur Empire)
The Uyghurs are believed to descend from Turkic nomadic tribes living near Lake Baikal in Southern Siberia. The anceint Uyghurs were also known as Tiele. They were closely related to other Turkic tribes like the Xiongnu and the Dingling tribes. They were firstly under the rule of the Xiongnu and then the two Göktürk empires. In 744–840 the Uyghurs founded their own empire, the Uyghur Khaganate. The large empire stretched from the Caspian Sea to Manchuria. The captial was in Ordu Baliq, Mongolia. The founder and Khan was Qutlugh Bilge Köl.

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Ancient Uyghur Dance (Buddhist period)
Ancient Uyghur Dance (Islamic period)


The Uyghur language is a Turkic language from the Uyghuric Karluk branch. Uyghur is place of under the Western subbranch of Uyghuric. Like most Altaic and Turkic languages Uyghur has vowel harmony. The grammar order is SOV (Subject Object Verb) unlike English's grammar SVO (Subject Verb Object) . SOV= I am food making. SVO= I food making am.

Here is an Uyghur song without intstuments. Now you can get a good idea of what Uyghur sounds like.


Uyghurs have 62 different kinds of musical instruments and one of their favorite is the "dutar" closely related to the Kazakh dombra. One of their musical styles is the Uyghur Muqam. The culture of the Uyghurs has much in common with the Turkic Uzbek.

Uyghur dance very graceful and female dances include beautiful movements of the hands, arms and head. Fast spins are also common in female dance.

Uyghur Bowl Dance with English Introduction (Click the HD button to see in HD)

Uyghur Muqam with English Introduction and Subbtitles (Click the HD button to see in HD)

Uyghur traditional costumes

Music Sample

Click this link to hear another Uyghur song.

Discovering The Culture Links
Listen to Uyghur folk music play list.
Click Here For Folk
Click Here For Uyghur Muqam


More Uyghur dances to enjoy.