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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  Prefecture-level city  —
Central Business District, Xining, Qinghai, China
Xining is located in China
Location within China
Coordinates: 36°38′N 101°46′E / 36.633°N 101.767°E / 36.633; 101.767
Country China
Province Qinghai
County-level divisions
Township divisions
 - CPC Xining
 - Mayor
 - Total 73,737 km2 (28,470 sq mi)
Elevation 2,275 m (7,464 ft)
 - Total 2,177,900
 Density 29.5/km2 (76.5/sq mi)
Time zone China Standard Time (UTC+8)
Postal code 810000
Area code(s) 971
License plate prefixes 青A
Website (Chinese)

Xining in Chinese; Silung or Ziling in Tibetan (Simplified Chinese: 西宁, Traditional Chinese: 西寧, Tibetan: ཟི་ནིང་; Pinyin: Xīníng, Wylie: Zi-ning) is the capital of Qinghai Province, People's Republic of China.



Xining People's Park (西宁人民公园); a major park containing children's fairground rides, zoo and a lake.

Xining has a history of over 2100 years[1] and was a chief commercial hub on the Hexi Corridor caravan route to Tibet, handling especially timber, wool and salt in ancient times. The trade along the Hexi Corridor was part of a larger trade corridor along the Northern Silk Road, whose use was intensified in the first century BC after efforts by the Han Dynasty to control this route.[2]

Under the Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220) a county there called Linqiang controlled the local Qiang tribesmen. It was again a frontier county under the Sui (581–618) and Tang (618–907) dynasties; during the 7th and early 8th centuries it was a center of constant warfare with the Tuyuhun and (later) the Tibetan peoples. In 763 it was overrun by the Tibetans and while under Tibetan control was known to the Chinese as Qingtangcheng. Recovered by the Song dynasty in 1104, it received the name Xining (meaning "peace in the west") and has been the seat of a prefecture or superior prefecture under that name since that time. With the rise of Tibetan Buddhism (Lamaism), which began in the 7th century AD, Xining became an important religious center; Qinghai's largest lamasery, a holy place to the Yellow Hat sect of Buddhists, was located at Kunbum, some 19 km to the southeast.

A major earthquake occurred May 22, 1927 and measured 8.6 on Richter scale. It was one of the deadliest earthquakes with a total count of 200,000 deaths. It also caused large land fractures.

Xining was the extraterritorial capital of the Koko Nor territory and remained in Gansu until 1928, when it became the provincial capital of the newly established independent province of Qinghai. Xining was given municipal status in 1945.

Since the late 1950s, when the Liujia Gorge Dam and hydroelectric project came into operation in neighboring Gansu province, Xining has been linked by a high-tension electrical grid to both Liujia and Lanzhou. It also uses local coal from mines at Datongxian to the north. A modern woolen mill was installed at Xining before 1957. The city also has a leather industry and is a market for salt from the Qaidam region. During the late 1950s medium-sized iron and steelworks were built there, supplying metal to Lanzhou.

Construction of a highway to the mineral-rich Qaidam basin and completion in 1959 of a link to the Chinese rail network via Lanzhou in Gansu province has spurred industrial development. This effort was part of a plan of the central government to rapidly exploit oil and pasturage in the Xining area beginning in the 1950s.[3]


Xining is located in the eastern part of Qinghai Province and lies on the Huangshui River. It has a total area of 350 km².

Xining is located on the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the upper reaches of the Huangshui River. It is the political, economic, and cultural center of Qinghai Province with an average altitude of about 2,200 meters (7217 feet). Human activity in the region can be traced to 2,100 years ago. During the Western and Eastern Han dynasties, owing to its developing agriculture, Xining was paid noticed due to its economic and military significance. As well as being an important hinge between the Central Plains and the western part of China in ancient times, Xining was an important link in the Silk Road. It continues to be an important rail and road link to the hinterlands of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

At present, five districts, three counties, and a national economic and technological development zone are under the administration of the local government. With a population of more than two million, Xining is the first city on the upper reaches of the Yellow River to achieve a population in the millions. There are about 37 nationalities living here, though it is only the Han, Hui, Monguor Tu, and Tibetan who are numerically significant. Local traditions and customs are influenced by the Tibetans, Monguor, Muslims, and Han.

Xining has also been dubbed the Summer Resort Capital of China owing to its cool summer. it has a cold semi-arid climate [1]. The region has many attractions making a visit to the area well worth considering. The scenery of Qinghai Lake, within easy driving distance of Xining, provides an escape from frantic city life and allows an experience of beautiful natural scenery. Bird Island, situated on the northwest of Qinghai Lake, presents various birds when visited at the right time. To the southwest of Xining lies the birthplace of the founder of the Gelugpa Sect where an important Tibetan Buddhist monastery, Kumbum was built. Climbing a mountain near the temple accords a a view of the city from the mountaintop. Dongguan Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in northern China, is also in Xining, as well as a museum devoted to the world's longest Buddhist painting (although many of the individual pieces are applique), a good museum, universities (Qinghai Nationalities University, Qinghai University, Qinghai Normal University), North Mountain that features a mix of religious influences, Christian churches, a small Tibetan Buddhist temple in the city center, and some of the best restaurants in China--everything from local noodles, to Sichuan cuisine, to Italian food, as well as a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.

Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
Climate data for Xining (1971-2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 1.4
Average low °C (°F) -13.6
Precipitation mm (inches) 1.2
Sunshine hours 209.8 204.9 222.5 241.0 253.9 236.5 243.8 244.4 196.9 208.1 212.7 201.2 2,675.7
% Humidity 45 44 47 48 53 60 65 66 68 63 54 49 55
Source: 中国气象局 国家气象信息中心 2009-09-10

River management

In 2007, the World Bank lent US$1 billion to aid river treatment in Xining, including Sanxian County's anti-flooding project, with an added US$1 billion dollars to support infrastructure. Qinghai has invested large amounts in the treatment of Huangshui Main River and Nanchuan River, totalling 24.5 km. However, a treatment on a 40 kilometer river course and 10 flash flood relief channels remain pending due to lack of equipment. In Sanxian County, a 108.4 meter long river course and 80 flash flood relief channels need treatment.

City Scape

Xining City at night


The GDP per capita was ¥19,494 (ca. US$2,800) in 2008, ranked no. 382 among 659 Chinese cities. Its main industries are wool spinning and textiles, fur, meat, milk, salt, and light processing industries. Another popular activity is Tibetan dancing in Xining Square.


Nan Chuan Xi Lu (南川西路); street scene in Xining

As of 2008, the total population of Xining is approximately 2,177,900, with an urban population of 1,329,000.

Administrative divisions

Subdivisions of Xining

The municipality oversees eight districts and rural areas:


Colleges and universities


A street in Xining

Xining is situated in a fertile mountain basin in the valley of the Huangshui (river), a tributary of the Yellow River, that acts as a river port. The city lies about 200 km west of Lanzhou in Gansu Province, on what was traditionally the main trade route from northern China into Tibet and the Qaidam Basin. These routes are now followed by modern highways.


Since 1959 Xining has been connected by rail to the main Chinese system at Lanzhou; this railway extends into the Qaidam area via Haiyan near Qinghai Lake to Golmud.


Xining Caojiabu Airport serves the area with regularly scheduled passenger flights to major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Chengdu, Kunming, Xi'an, and Wuhan.



Located in the southwest part of Xining City, the Kumbum Monastery or Ta'er Monastery is one of six famous monasteries in the Gelug (also called Yellow Hat Sect) of Tibetan Buddhism. Having a history of over 600 years, the Dongguan Mosque, located in the Xining City Zone, is one of the most famous mosques in the northwest region of China. It has splendid and diversiform towers, walls and halls in the mosque. Another unique religious structure is the Beishan Si (North Mountain Temple), a Taoist facility.

Dongguan Mosque

The Xining region is also replete with natural scenic attractions. One is the Sun and Moon Mountain which divides Qinghai Province into two parts - the stock-raising area and the farming area. Another not-to-be-missed destination is the Qinghai Lake and Bird Island. This alluring body of water is home to hundreds of thousands of birds. About 35 kilometers west of Xining City in Datong County, you can experience the magical power of Laoye Mountain. Every year on the 6th day of the 6th lunar month, the traditional singing festival attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors.


A halal butcher's shop

As the capital of Qinghai Province, Xining almost boasts all varieties of local flavors. Xining's cuisine is distinct from other varieties of Chinese cities using mainly food products native to the area. Food here is substantial, but quite inexpensive.

A unique feature of dishes in Xining is that they are given names after the surname of their initiator. Some of the famous ones will be introduced in next context. Liangfen (bean jelly) is made from pea powder and cut into short strips. Liangfen is served with vinegar, chili and mashed garlic, mustard and salt to enhance the taste the dish. Niangpi is a popular snack made of flour and baking soda. It can be found anywhere in Xining for four-yuan. The most famous version of this snack is called Mazhong Niangpi and can be found in the Mojia Jie. Zasui Tang is a soup cooked with lamb and oxen entrails. Locals often eat this snack for breakfast. The hot soup helps warm people during the winter. Muslim Yoghurt is a must while in Xining – this breakfast is a kind of substance made by local Muslim families and is served in small bowls for one-yuan. Terrine is a popular snack in Xining. It is a small hot pot which contains beef, mutton, been curd and vermicelli. Mutton Eaten with Fingers is the most famous snack in Qinghai Province. It is made of fresh mutton and served with a little salt. This snack is the favorite food of the herdsmen of Qinghai Province.

In Xining, some restaurants serve varieties of 'plateau flavor', such as Feng'er Liji (a round lamb tenderloin), Danbai Chongcao Ji (a medicine cuisine made of chicken, Chinese caterpillar fungus and eggs), Jinyu Facai (pork wrapped in flagelliform nostoc and shaped as a goldfish) among others. These dishes are often cooked by the locals at home.

There are also many small restaurants offering noodles. Gan Ban is a very common noodle dish. Perhaps Mian Pian, which means "noodle leaves" is the most common noodle plate among the Qinghai people.

On the streets, many Muslims sell spicy lamb brochettes.

Due to the cold climate, residents of Xining are also fond of strong spirits - Xining has the reputation of being one of the heaviest regions of alcohol consumption in China.


External links

Coordinates: 36°38′N 101°46′E / 36.633°N 101.767°E / 36.633; 101.767

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Xining at night
Xining at night

Xining (西宁; Xīníng; Tibetan: Sulang) is the capital of Qinghai Province and the capital of Xining City District, a prefecture of Qinghai.


The large city of Xining acts as one of the major gateways to the Tibetan Plateau. It is an ancient highland city on the Yellow River which offers many scenic spots and historical sites. Although the city itself has a strong Islamic flavor, as it is home to many Hui people, you will start getting a more Tibetan feel as you move away from the city.

Get in

By plane

Xining Airport (IATA: XNN), located 15km south, southeast of the city, has flights to Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Golmud, Guangzhou, Lhasa, Shanghai, Shenyang, Urumqi, and Xian. The local CAAC office offers transport to/from the airport for ¥21. Shenzhen Airlines fly into Xining from Hong Kong.

  • Golmud - takes about 14-16 hours
  • Lanzhou - takes about 3-5 hours
  • Lhasa - takes about 26 hours

By bus

LongDistance Bus Station is at Jianguo Road

  • Banma - takes about 2 days
  • Heimahe - takes about 7 hours
  • Lanzhou - takes about 5 hours
  • Maduo - takes about 11 hours
  • Tongren - takes about 5 hours
  • Xunhua - takes about 5 hours
  • Yushu - takes about 24 hours
  • Zhangye - takes about 9 hours
  • Dunhuang - takes about 20 hours
  • Jiuquan - takes about 10 hours

There are also buses for Golmud, Lhasa and Yinchuan at the western end of the square in front of the train station.

Get around

By bus

There are plenty of buses that get you around town. These cost ¥1 a trip.

By taxi

Taxis run on the meter. The price starts at ¥6.

North Mountain Temple Cliff.
North Mountain Temple Cliff.
  • North Mountain Temple, (North of the city, bus 10 or 11 will take you there). Taoist Temple in the hills. At the moment a lot of it is closed for safety reasons. This includes the walkways between man-made caves in the mountain. There is a pagoda above, on the hill. From here there is a great view over the city. Temple ¥5; pagoda ¥2.  edit
  • Dongguan Mosque (东关清真大寺; Dōngguān Qīngzhēndàsì), Dongguan Street (东关大街; Dōngguāndàjiē) (Bus 1, 2, 23).  edit
  • Northern Ch'An Monastery. See the Taoist Tulou (Rammed-earth Pavillion)  edit
  • Southern Ch'An Monastery.  edit
  • Dongguan Monastery.  edit
  • Datong Laoye Mountain Forest Zone.  edit
  • Qinghai Provincial Museum. Nice place for those curious about Qinghai's history and ethnic relationships.  edit
  • Tibetan Medicine Museum.  edit


The Banks in Xining only accepts foreign credit cards, not debit cards. The only exeption is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Handmade Tibetan Handicrafts can be bought at the AmdoCafe (see Drink section).


Xining's main minority groups provide a large portion of the food on offer. The Hui, a broad term for Chinese Muslims, serve up spicy noodles, lamb kabobs and roast naan. Tibetan food choices are concentrated around the train station, mostly small places the serve momos and noodles and seat guests on small coaches.

Western food options are very slim. There are two Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets and a Dico's near the city square, along with a locally run pizza buffet. On the fourth floor of the stadium, there is a Western-styled restaurant, the food here is quite expensive, so if on a budget you will have to wait until Lhasa or Lanzhou for a decent hamburger.

There is a restaurant area right next to the Shuijing Xiang Bazaar, in the center of the city, and throughout the evening and into the night there are many street stalls serving good food around Ximen and on the western side of Jianguo Road.


A number of bars are located at the end of the city's main snack street. These tiny places each have only a dozen tables, and all offer extensive drink specials. Beer starts at ¥6 for a Tsingtao, but expensive imported liquor is also available. There is usually no cover charge.

  • New York Subway (纽约地铁; Niǔyuē Dìtiě), 57 Nanguan Street (南关街57号; Nánguānjiē). Underground bar/club, loosely themed around the New York Subway system. It features a bar with good selection, as well as a small dance floor with a live DJ and lights. Booths and a foozball table are scattered around for those who would rather kick back and take in the atmosphere.  edit
  • AmdoCafe, Datong Street (Close to Beidajie), 8213127, [1]. 9AM-6PM. This coffee shop, which also offers AmdoCraft Tibetan Handicraft products, provides a relaxed, quiet atmosphere in which to sip and sample real, fresh-brewed coffee, or sup on steaming pastries, cakes, and cookies. The coffee is some of the most inexpensive real coffee in the area.  edit



There are dozens of small guesthouses near the train and long distance bus station. Look for the characters "招待所," which in this part of town are on every other building. Most places seem aimable to taking foreigners, and prices range from ¥10 in a grimy four-room bunk (expect the other occupants to smoke in the room all night long) to ¥100 for a deluxe double. More guesthouses can be found around the town' West Gate, or Ximen.

  • Lete Youth Hostel, 16th Floor, 5# Building, International Village Apartment, +86 971 8202080 (), [2]. Nice, clean hostel. The staff speak great English. There is a travel company upstairs that will organise trips in the local provence and to Tibet. There is also a good café in the hostel. Dorms ¥25, private rooms ¥120.  edit
  • Qinghai Shuili Hotel (青海省水利宾馆; Qīnghǎishěng Shuǐlì Bīnguǎn), 18-8 Kunlun Road, Chengxi District (城西区昆仑路18-8号; Chéngxīqū Kūnlúnlù. Listed rates for doubles from ¥168, discounted from ¥128, no breakfast.  edit
  • Home Inn (Xining Central Square) (如家快捷酒店 (西宁中心广场店); Rújiākuàijiéjiǔdiàn (Xīníngzhōngxīnguǎngchǎngdiàn)), Near west building of Ximen Gym, Chengzhong District (城中区西门体育馆西附楼; Chéngzhōngqū Xīméntǐyùguǎnxīfùlóu). Doubles from ¥199.  edit
  • Jianyin Hotel, 55 West Street, +86 971 8261561 (fax: +86 971 8261515).  edit
  • Xining Tower, 61 Jianguo Road, +86 971 8419991 (fax: +86 971 8419779).  edit
  • Qing Hai Moslem Mansion (Three stars), 65 Qiyi Street, +86 971 8138011 (fax: +86 971 8138900). Good hotel, near the railway station, heaed in winter. Good restaurant, good amrican breakfast. ¥360.  edit
  • Yinlong Hotel (青海银龙酒店; Qīnghǎi Yínlóng Jiǔdiàn), 38 Huanghe Road, Chengxi District (城西区黄河路38号; Chéngxīqū Huánghélù), +86 971 6166666 (, fax: +86 971 6167428), [3]. Five star hotel with rooms with free internet. Business center, beauty salon, ticket office, disco, billiards, fitness, massage and sauna available. Chinese and Western restaurants, coffee shop, bar and room service. Listed rates for doubles from ¥1,480, discounted from ¥1,080, including breakfast.  edit
  • Qinghaihu National Park (青海湖 - also called Lake Koko Nor) - this 5,694 km lake is the largest lake in China, and is located between Hainan and Haibei
  • Taersi Monestery (塔爾寺) - perfectly situated in the village of Huangzhong. The surrounding countryside is pleasant.
  • Tu Minority Village - located at Weiyuanzhen Old Village, 32 km from Xining
Routes through Xining
END  N noframe S  Qinghaihu LakeLhasa
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



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Proper noun




  1. A city in northwestern China, capital of Qinghai Province.


  • IPA: /ˈʃiːˈnɪŋ/



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