Hami City

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For the prefecture, see Hami Prefecture.
哈密市 · قۇمۇل شەھىرى
County-level city
Hami is located in Xinjiang
Location in Xinjiang
Coordinates: 42°50′19″N 93°30′15″E / 42.83861°N 93.50417°E / 42.83861; 93.50417Coordinates: 42°50′19″N 93°30′15″E / 42.83861°N 93.50417°E / 42.83861; 93.50417
Country People's Republic of China
Region Xinjiang
Prefecture Hami
 • Total 85,035 km2 (32,832 sq mi)
Elevation 759 m (2,490 ft)
 • Total 364,796
 • Density 4.3/km2 (11/sq mi)
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Postal code 839000

Kumul (Kumul) (Uyghur: قۇمۇل‎, ULY: Qumul, UYY: K̡umul?) or Hami (Chinese: 哈密; pinyin: Hāmì) is an oasis city and the seat of Hami Prefecture, eastern Xinjiang, People's Republic of China; it is also the name of a modern city and the surrounding district. It is well known nationally as the home of sweet Hami melons.

Hami is the first city to be reached for travellers exiting Gansu province.

Geography and climate[edit]

Hami (Kumul) is in a fault depression at 759 m (2,490 ft) above sea level, and has a temperate zone, continental desert climate (Köppen BWk) (see Hami Desert), with extreme differences between summer and winter, and dry, sunny weather year-round. On average, there is only 39 mm (1.54 in) of precipitation annually, occurring on 25 days of the year. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 68% in December to 79% in September and October, the city receives 3,285 hours of bright sunshine annually, making it one of the sunniest nationally. The monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from −10.4 °C (13.3 °F) in January to 26.5 °C (79.7 °F) in July, while the annual mean is 9.95 °C (49.9 °F). The diurnal temperature variation is typically large, approaching an average 15 °C (27 °F) for the year.

Climate data for Hami (Kumul) (1971−2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −3.2
Average low °C (°F) −15.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 1.3
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 1.7 1.1 1.0 1.5 2.0 3.6 4.4 3.4 2.0 1.4 1.0 1.8 24.9
Average relative humidity (%) 60 46 33 28 32 39 41 42 44 48 53 62 44
Mean monthly sunshine hours 210.4 219.9 267.9 288.3 338.8 329.6 333.4 323.3 296.9 270.6 216.5 189.5 3,285.1
Percent possible sunshine 73 74 73 72 75 72 72 75 79 79 74 68 73.8
Source: China Meteorological Administration [1]


"Camul" (Kumul) shown in the middle or Asia, halfway between "Samarchand" and "Cataio", on a 1570 map by Abraham Ortelius

The city is known in Uyghur as Qumul or Qomul (Yengi Yezik̡: K̡umul, K̡omul). The name "Camul" appears on European maps already in the 16th century, and Matteo Ricci in his account of the Portuguese Jesuit Benedict Goës visit to the city in 1605 uses the same spelling as well.[2]

One of the oldest attested Chinese names is Kūnmò 昆莫; in Han-dynasty documents it was referred to as Yīwú 伊吾 or Yīwúlú 伊吾卢, in the Tang dynasty as Yīzhōu 伊州; in the Yuan dynasty the Mongolian name for the place, Qamil, was transcribed into Chinese as Hāmìlì 哈密力[3] and from the Ming dynasty Qumul was known as Hāmì 哈密. The Yīwúlú toponym also appears as 伊吾廬 in the History of the Yuan Dynasty,[4] the biographies of which include references to the place using both names: Baurchuk Art Tekin 巴而朮阿而忒的斤 bases his troops at Hāmìlì in juan 122, while one Tabun 塔本 is recorded as being a man of Yīwúlú in juan 124.[5]

Lionel Giles has recorded the following names (with his Wade-Giles forms of the Chinese names converted to pinyin):

"Kunwu [Zhou]
Yiwu or Yiwulu [Han]
Yiwu Zhun [Sui]
Yi Zhou [Tang]
Kumul, Kamul, Camul [Turki]
Khamil [Mongol]
Hāmi [modern name]"


The Xiongnu have been recorded to be the natives as early as the beginning of Han dynasty. During the Later Han dynasty Hami repeatedly changed hands between the Chinese and Xiongnu who both wanted to control this fertile and strategic oasis. Several times the Han set up military agricultural colonies to feed their troops and supply trade caravans. It was especially noted for its melons, raisins and wine.[6]

"The region of Yiwu [Hami] is favourable for the five types of grain [rice, two kinds of millet, wheat and beans], mulberry trees, hemp, and grapes. Further north is Liuzhong [Lukchun]. All these places are fertile. This is why the Han have constantly struggled with the Xiongnu over Jushi [Turfan/Jimasa] and Yiwu [Hami], for the control of the Western Regions."[7]

The turks gained control of this region during the late Sui dynasty. The Mongols conquered this region during the Yuan Dynasty. Later Gunashiri, a descendant of Chagatai Khan, founded his own small state called Qara Del in Kumul or Hami, which accepted Ming supremacy in the early 15th century, but was conquered by another branch of Mongols later on. Since the 18th century, Kumul was the capital of the Kumul Khanate, a semi-autonomous vassal within the Qing Empire and the Republic of China as part of Xinjiang. The last ruler of the khanate was Maqsud Shah.


As of 2002, Qumul had a population of about 519,700 of which 68.4% were Han Chinese and 31.6% ethnic minorities-mostly Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Hui.



"“The kingdom of Ha-mi contains a great number of villages and hamlets; but it has, properly, only one city, which is its capital, and has the same name. It is surrounded by lofty wall, which are half a league in circumference, and has two gates, one of which fronts the east, and the other the west. These gates are exceedingly beautiful, and make a fine appearance at a distance. The streets are straight, and well laid out; but the houses (which contain only a ground-floor, and which are almost all constructed of earth) make very little shew: however, as this city enjoys a serene sky, and is situated in a beautiful plain, watered by a river, and surrounded by mountains which shelter it from the north winds, it is a most agreeable and delightful residence. On whatever side on approaches it, gardens may be seen, which contain everything that a fertile and cultivated soil can produce in the mildest climates. All the surrounding fields are enchanting; but they do not extend far; for on several sides they terminate in dry plains, where a number of beautiful horses are fed, and a species of excellent sheep, which have large flat tails which sometimes weigh three pounds. The country of Ha-mi appears to be very abundant in fossils and valuable minerals: the Chinese have, for a long time, procured diamonds and a great deal of gold from it; at present, it supplies them with a kind of agate, on which they set a great value."[8]


  1. ^ 中国地面国际交换站气候标准值月值数据集(1971-2000年) (in Chinese). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  2. ^ Trigault, Nicolas S. J. "China in the Sixteenth Century: The Journals of Mathew Ricci: 1583-1610". English translation by Louis J. Gallagher, S.J. (New York: Random House, Inc. 1953). This is an English translation of the Latin work, De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas based on Matteo Ricci's journals completed by Nicolas Trigault. Page 513. There is also full Latin text available on Google Books.
  3. ^ Song Lian et al., Yuanshi (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1976), p. 3001.
  4. ^ Song Lian et al., Yuanshi (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1976), p. 3043.
  5. ^ Song Lian et al., Yuanshi (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1976), pp. 3001, 3043.
  6. ^ Hill (2009), pp. 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 15, 49, 51, 53, and note 1.6 on pp. 67-69, note 1.26, pp. 111-114.
  7. ^ Hill (2009), p. 15.
  8. ^ Grosier (1888), pp. 336-337.


  • Giles, Lionel (1930–1932). "A Chinese Geographical Text of the Ninth Century." BSOS VI, pp. 825–846.
  • Grosier, Abbe (1888). A General Description of China. Translated from the French. G.G.J. and J. Robinson, London.
  • Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.

External links[edit]

  • hmnet.gov.cn Chinese government site on K̡umul (in Chinese)
  • hami.gov.cn Chinese government site on K̡umul (in Chinese)