Ningxia - Yinchuan
Also known as the City of the Phoenix, Yinchuan is the capital of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. It is located in the heart of the Ningxia Plain, with Mt. Helan in the west and the Huanghe River in the east. Yinchuan has a population of 910,000 and an area of 4,399 square kilometer.
It has been listed by the Chinese government as one of China's 100 Ancient Cultural Cities. Yinchuan has many places of interest reflecting the culture of the Huanghe River region.
It served as the capital of the state of Western Xia (1038-1228), and the royal mausoleum of the Western Xia State is historical evidence of the combination of the Chinese culture and the culture of the Western Region.
Yinchuan has convenient transportation. Air and rail lines from Yinchuan reach major cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Van, Lanzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan and Urumqi. Telecommunications is under program control in downtown area. There are 6 star-rated hotels and 30 hotels that receive foreigners with a bedding capacity of 3,000.
Yinchuan is rapidly transforming itself into a center of economy, finance, trade, transportation, science, technology, culture, and tourism in the eastern part of northwestern China.
West Xia Kingdom (1038-1227) stands among the once powerful kingdoms, with its capital in Yinchuan shaded by Mt. Helan imperial forests. Its Imperial Tombs reflect the past glories culturally and militarily.
The West Xia Imperial Tombs are 25 kilometer west of Yinchuan on the east side of Mt. Helan. Since June 1972, 9 imperial tombs and 253 lesser tombs have been unearthed, which are as grand as Ming Tombs in Beijing. With a total area of more than 50 square kilometer, it is unique among royal burials. The layout is patterned after the celestial bodies.
According to records, the tombs were patterned after Song Tombs in Gongxian County, Henan Province. The West Xia Imperial Tombs adopted the zhao-mu burial system (the father is zhao, son is mu while grandson is zhao again). East line and west line are formed from south to north with zhao on the left and mu on the right. Each imperial tomb is an individual and integrated group of architectures, sitting north and facing south in a rectangle.
There are mysteries yet to be unveiled. Floods in Mt. Helan are numerous but somehow the area of the West Xia Imperial Tombs is left untouched. Also, there are 8 or 9 stone kneeling statues unearthed with sticking teeth, glower and plump breast with unknown significance and function.
The West Xia Imperial Tombs are not only a state cultural heritage but also a state scenic spot. The magnificent labyrinth and the continuous Mt. Helan and boundless desert are definitely worth visiting.
If you love both the desert and the world of water, Sand Lake in northwest China is an ideal choice. Located in Pingluo County, 56 kilometer north of Yinchuan, the capital city of Ningxia, Sand Lake is more than 80 square kilometer in area, including 45 square kilometer of lakes and over 22 square kilometer of desert. This unique, natural scenery attracts millions of visitors from China and abroad.
Sand Lake is one of the best places for bird watching in all of China, as it is home to 198 species and over one million birds. Every year during spring and autumn, over one million migratory birds stop at Sand Lake. The Bird-watching Tower, equipped with best telescope available, holds hundreds of people.
Sand Lake is a paradise for the birdwatcher as well as a great variety of birds, including white cranes, black cranes, red-crowned cranes, swans, wild ducks and mandarin ducks.
Sand Lake also has several species of fishes. Not just the common carp, silver carp, grass carp and crucian carp but also the blunt-snout bream, which is rarely found in North China. You can find giant salamanders here as well.
Because of the abundance of fish, the reeds and the lotuses seem to be endless at Sand Lake. While riding the motorboats, the breeze in your face and the scenery rushing by will give you an exhilarating feeling. The blue sky, green lake water, yellow sand dunes, green reeds, lotus and beautiful birds create a pure and peaceful picture of nature.
Besides natural beauty, Sand Lake also offers you more than 30 recreational opportunities. Some are only for the adventurous but less strenuous activities are also available, such as water-motorcycling, wind surfing, and sliding down the dunes.
© 2005 - 2011. All Rights