Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture
Located in the northwest of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang is home to 3,950,300 people from 47 ethnic groups such as the Han, Kazak, Uygur, Mongolian, and Xibe. The prefecture covers an area of 350,000 square kilometers. Under its jurisdiction are the three regions of Ili, Tacheng, and Altay, and 24 cities and counties. The capital city of Yining is 702 kilometers from Urumqi based on highway distance. The prefecture has a temperate continental arid climate.
The prefecture shares a roughly north-south border of more than 2,000 kilometers with Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia, along which are eight important ports, such as Korgas Port, the site of great trade.
The prefecture is teeming with high mountains, rivers, and dense forest, with intermountain plains and river valleys scattered around, showing the typical feature of an oasis. In its territory, there are large stretches of wild apple, wild almond, wild walnut, and wild rose woods, 12 natural reserves at provincial level, numerous natural landscapes, and remains of cultural relic. It is both a holiday and a tourist resort. The prefecture is rich in animal, mineral, and water conservancy resources, with a bright prospect for development.
The Ili region is located in the west of Xinjiang and the upper reaches of the Ili River. Under its administration are eight counties and one city, with a total population of 2,115,400 (including an ethnic minority population of 1,420,300), a tilled land area of 287,800 hectares, a farm crop-sown area of 169,600 hectares (including a re-sown area of 34,700 hectares), and a cash crop-sown area of 117,200 hectares. It has a northern temperate semi-arid climate.
The region is an important production base for food, oil-bearing crops, sugar, and livestock. Ten featured agricultural planting areas have been inclusively formed for "Red Earth" fresh grapes, red apples, superior rice, and aromatic tobacco.
The annual surface runoff is 168 hundred million cubic meters, while the reserve of underground water amounts to 16 hundred million cubic meters.
The wooded land and mountainous forest area is 240,000 and 200,000 hectares respectively. The total area of grassland is 3,466,700 hectares.
The rare species of animals are the four-paw land turtle, Xinjiang northern salamander, Tianshan red deer, snow leopard, and Mongolian gazelle; the medicinal plants are the Ili Fritillaria thunbergli, licorice, Ephedra sinica, Ili Astragalus mongholicus, and wild hawthorn; and the mineral resources are coal, iron, copper, gold, mica, and asbestos.
There are the Korgas, Dulart, and Muzart national category-A ports as well as the Yining category-B port.
Ili, a Land of Beauty
You will never know how large China is until you visit Xinjiang, and you will never know how truly beautiful Xinjiang is until you visit Ili.
Ili features snow-capped peaks, lush pastures, charming highland lakes, and meandering streams. It is endowed with immense forests and abundant mineral resources, and its fruit has long been famous throughout Xinjiang.
Between July and August the area around the spectacular Kanas Lake is filled with locals who come for the Nadam Fair. They buy and sell handicrafts and take part in local festival activities including a rather bizarre sport known as Sheep Tussling.
Ili was the link between Asia and Europe on the Silk Road in ancient times. Once an important town on the north route of the ancient Silk Road, Ili has many historic sites with a rich collection of cultural relics. There are such tourist attractions as the Fruit Valley, Kanas Lake, and so on.
As Ili is a place where Chinese and Western cultures meet, the lifestyles of its peoples are varied and colorful.
Today, Ili is an important window on China's ambitious development project for the western regions
Yining -- a city of South China Scenery Beyond the Yumen Pass
Yining City is the capital of the Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture as well as the location of the Ili Region's administrative agency. It is a city inhabited by multi-ethnic groups, with a population of 342,000. Yining City, located in the central part of the Ili River Valley, is endowed with a beautiful environment and an agreeable climate. It is also known as "a city of South China scenery beyond the Yumen Pass."
Yining City now has the industrial sectors of electric power, building material, woolen textile, leather, farm machinery, papermaking, and cement, and so on. The place is teeming with fertile soil and rich water resources, enjoying developed agriculture, forest, and animal husbandry. Yining City is commonly known as "a land of apple," as its apple output accounts for some 10 percent of Xinjiang's