|Yining (Gulja / Qulja)
伊宁市 · قۇلجا قالاسى · غۇلجا شەھىرى
Town square in Yining (Gulja) in July 2005
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Autonomous prefecture||Ili (Kazakh)|
|• Total||629 km2 (243 sq mi)|
|• Density||680/km2 (1,800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||China Standard (UTC+8)|
Yining (Gulja / Qulja) (Chinese: 伊宁), also known as Ghulja (Uyghur: غۇلجا; Kazakh: قۇلجا), and formerly Ili and Kulja, is a county-level city in northwestern Xinjiang, People's Republic of China, and the seat of the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture. Historically, Yining is the successor to the ruined city of Almaliq in neighbouring Huocheng County.
Area and population
Administratively, the City of Yining is a county-level administrative unit. As of 2004, it occupied 629 km2 (243 sq mi), with the population of 430,000 people. The city is located at an elevation of about 640 m (2,100 ft).
The land area and population of the City of Yining were smaller before 2004; the increase resulted from the transfer of two villages with some 100 km2 (39 sq mi) of land from the adjacent Yining County, which is a separate administrative unit from the city.
Note on historical place names
From 13-15th century it was under the control of Chagatai Khanate known as Almaligh. Another Mongolian empire—the Zunghar Khanate—established its capital in the area. In the 19th and early 20th century, the word Kuldja or Kulja was often used in Russia and in the West as the name for the entire Chinese part of the Ili River basin as well as for its two main cities. The usage of 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica is fairly characteristic: it defines Kulja as a "territory in north-west China" bounded by the Russian border and the mountains that surround the Ili basin, and it talks about two major cities of the region:
- Kulja (i.e. today's Yining ), or more specifically Old Kulja (elsewhere, also called Taranchi Kulja), which was the commercial center of the region.
- Suidun (i.e. Suiding, now called Shuiding), or more specifically New Kulja, Manchu Kulja, or Ili (elsewhere, also Chinese Kulja), the Chinese fortress and the regional capital.
Suiding was located some 40 km (25 mi) to the northwest of Yining, in today's Huocheng County; the regional capital was moved there circa 1883, prior to which the appellation New Kulja or Manchu Kulja was applied to the Huiyuan Cheng fortress, which was a bit closer to Yining.
Yining was the site of the Sino-Russian Treaty of Kulja 1851, which opened the area for trade.
In 1864-66, the city suffered severely from fighting during the Muslim Rebellion. The city and the rest of the Ili River basin was seized by the Russians in 1871 during Yakub Beg's independent rule of Kashgaria. It was restored to the Chinese under the terms of the Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1881).
Republic of China
In 1997, in what came to be known as the Gulja Incident or massacre, the city was rocked by two days of demonstrations or riots followed by a government crack down resulting in at least 9 deaths following the execution of 30 Uighur activists.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Yining is located on the northern side of the Ili River in the Dzungarian basin, about 70 km (43 mi) east of the border with Kazakhstan, and about 710 km (440 mi) west of Ürümqi. The Ili River valley is far wetter than most of Xinjiang and has rich grazing land.
Yining (Gulja) has a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), without the strong variation in seasonal precipitation seen across most of China. Dry and sunny weather dominates year-round. Winters are cold, with a January average of −8.8 °C (16.2 °F). Yet the influence of the Dzungarian Altau to the northwest and Boroboro Mountains to the northeast helps keep the city warmer than more easterly locales on a similar latitude. Summers are hot, with a July average of 23.1 °C (73.6 °F). Diurnal temperature ranges tend to be large from April to October. The annual mean temperature is 8.98 °C (48.2 °F). With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 53% in December to 73% in August and September, sunshine is abundant and the city receives 2,834 hours of bright sunshine annually.
|Climate data for Yining (Gulja) (1971–2000)|
|Average high °C (°F)||−2.1
|Average low °C (°F)||−15
|Precipitation mm (inches)||17.9
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||8.1||7.6||8.1||7.6||8.6||9.1||8.1||6.2||4.4||6.7||7.4||8.3||90.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||159.7||170.9||213.8||252.2||291.5||299.6||327.4||316.0||274.8||213.8||168.6||145.7||2,834|
|Percent possible sunshine||56||58||58||63||64||65||70||73||73||68||58||53||64|
|Source: China Meteorological Administration |
Yining is the chief city and the agricultural and commercial center of the Ili valley. It is an old commercial center trading in tea and cattle, and it is still an agricultural area with extensive livestock raising. It has fruit orchards. Iron, coal, and uranium are mined nearby.
- Regular bus service is available to other cities in the region, and taxis are available locally.
- The Yining Airport is located several kilometers north of town, with commercial service to Ürümqi only.
- The Jinghe-Yining-Horgos Railway, an electrified railway from Ürümqi to Yining to Khorgos near the Kazakh border was completed in the late 2009. Daily passenger service - an overnight Ürümqi-Yining train service began on July 1, 2010.
- China National Highway 218
- China National Highway 312
Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture Museum, opened in Yining in 2004, is one of Xinjiang's most important museums. In fact, at the time it opened it became, in the words of a Western scholar, the "only modern museum" in Xinjiang. (Xinjiang of course also has the provincial museum in Ürümqi; but at that time point, its old building had been demolished, while its replacement was still under construction). The museum houses archaeological and ethnological artefacts from throughout the prefecture.
- Locals in Xinjiang frequently observe UTC+6, 2 hours behind Beijing
- Alternate spellings Ĝulja, Kuldja and Kulja
- Sometimes also spelled as Yili
- Administrative division of Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture (Chinese)
- "Kulja" in Encyclopædia Britannica 1911, e.g
- Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (1982). Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, Volumes 4-5. King Abdulaziz University. p. 299. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- "Xinjiang to intensify crackdown on separatists", China Daily, 10/25/2001 
- 1997 Channel 4 UK report which can be seen here
- "中国地面国际交换站气候标准值月值数据集（1971－2000年）". China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
- Xingjiang’s first electrified railway rails laid 2009-09-17
- Tickets of train from Urumqi to Yining put on sale (2010-06-22)
- Xinjiang's first electrified railway passenger train (2010-07-07)
- A TALE OF TWO CITIES: NEW MUSEUMS FOR YINING AND URUMQI. CHINA HERITAGE NEWSLETTER, No. 3, September 2005
- Yining City Government (Chinese)
- Map of the City of Yining (Borders shown as they were before the annexation of the villages of Dadamutu (达达木图乡 on the map) and Panjin (潘津村 on the map) in 2004) (Chinese)