|Prefecture||Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture|
The town of Huiyuan (simplified Chinese: 惠远镇; traditional Chinese: 惠遠鎮; pinyin: Huìyuǎn Zhèn) is located within Huocheng County, in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang, China. It is located near the Ili River, some 30 km to the west of Yining, the main city of the prefecture, and some 8 km south of Shuiding, the county seat. Huiyuan's population was reported as 20,564 by the Year 2000 Census.
Between 1762 and 1866 the Huiyuan Fortress, or Huiyuan City (惠远城, Huìyuǎn Chéng), the center of the Chinese authority in Xinjiang was located within the area of the modern Huiyuan town.
This area, once the homeland of Zungar Mongols, was annexed by the Manchus after 1761. It was there during the reign of emperor Qianlong, in 1762, during one of the rebellions of the local Muslim population, that the fortress of Huiyuan was built, as the center of the Manchu military power and civilian administration in Xinjiang. The main fortress out of the "Nine Forts" of the Ili (see Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture#Qing Dynasty for the history of the region), Huiyuan was the seat of the Governor General of the region, the Ili Jiangjun (总统伊犁等处将军).
Huiyuan suffered severe damage during the Muslim Rebellion of the 1860s, the besieged Jiangjun Mingsioi blowing himself up in his palace rather than surrendering to the rebels. The fort fell into disuse during the Russian occupation that followed in 1871-81.
The Russians left pursuant to Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1881), and two years later, in 1883 the fortress and the military-administrative town that accompanied it were rebuilt in Suiding (presently called Shuiding), some 10 km to north of the river.
While the city of Yining (originally known as Níngyuǎn Chéng, 宁远城) has remained the commercial center of the region, the 19th century Huiyuan, like its successor Suiding, was mostly a fortress and an administrative town. Huiyuan was known to the Russians and Westerners as the New Kuldja, Chinese Kuldja, Manchu Kuldja, or Ili, to distinguish it from Yining (the Old Kuldja or the Taranchi Kuldja).
James Millward, writing in 1998, said that the only surviving remains of the Qing era structures were a drum tower and a section of the wall that used to enclose the Jiangjun's yamen. However, it has been reported that some of the Qing period buildings, including a bell tower and a "Governor General's Pavilion", have since been rebuilt at the Huiyuan site as a tourist attraction, often referred to as the "Huiyuan Old Town" (惠远古城)
- Huocheng County information, at the China Administrative Division info site (Chinese)
- 伊犁惠远城 (Ili's Huiyuan City) (Chinese)
- Henry Lansdell, "Russian Central Asia: Including Kuldja, Bokhara, Khiva and Merv". Full text available at Google Books; there is also a 2001 facsimile reprint of the 1885 edition, ISBN 1-4021-7762-3. (Chapters XIV-XVII describe Lansdell visit to the area in the early 1880s, soon after the Russian withdrawal. He visited "Suidun" (Suiding), mentioned the already ruined "Ili or Manchu Kuldja" (Huiyuancheng), and then went to "Taranchi Kuldja" (Yining))