Yining (Chinese: 伊宁), also known as Ghulja (Uyghur: غۇلجا;
Kazakh: قۇلجا, Құлжа, Qulja),[b] and formerly Ningyuan
(寧遠) is a county-level city in northwestern Xinjiang, People's
Republic of China, and the seat of the Ili Kazakh Autonomous
Yining is the successor to the ruined city
of Almaliq in neighbouring Huocheng County.
1 Area and population
2.1 Note on historical place names
2.2 Qing dynasty
2.3 Republic of China
2.4 People's Republic
4 Administrative divisions
10 External links
Area and population
The city of
Yining is a county-level administrative unit located along
Ili River. As of 2015, it has an estimated population of 542,507, with
a total land area of 629 km2 (243 sq mi). It is the
most populous city in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture.
The land area and population of the City of
Yining saw an increase in
2003; 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 Mughulistan empire with its capital Almaligh, Turpan,
Tashkent, Yarkent and Kashgar. Another Mongul empire—the Zunghar
Khanate—established around Ili area. In the 19th and early 20th
century, the word Kuldja or Ghulja 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
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
Manchu Kulja, or Ili (elsewhere, also Chinese Kulja), the
Chinese fortress and the regional capital.
Until the 1860s Huiyuan to the south of
Suiding was the regional
The fort of Ningyuan (寧遠城) was built in 1762 to accommodate new
settlers from southern Xinjing. The forts of Huining (惠寧城) and
Xichun (熙春城) built later in 1765 and 1780 were also located
within the modern
Treaty of Kulja 1851 opened the area for trade.
In 1864-66, the city suffered severely from fighting during the Dungan
Revolt. The city and the rest of the
Ili River basin were 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). In 1888 the Ningyuan County was established.
The Geographical Magazine in 1875 by Sir Clements Robert Markham
What little industry Kulja possesses is all due to the Chinese, who
transplanted the taste for art, assiduity and skilfulness of their
pigtailed race, even to these western outskirts of "the celestial
flowery dominion of the Middle." Had the Taranjis and Kalmuks been
left to themselves, or had they remained in a preponderating majority,
Kulja would not be a bit farther advanced than either Yarkand or Aksu.
The principal trades are the following:— founders, manufacturing
kettles, plates, and other implements of a very primitive form;
paper-makers, whose productions do not seem to be superior to the
paper manufactured at the present time after Chinese patterns at
Khokand and Samarkand. There are, moreover, some confectionaries in
which cakes of all shapes are baked of rice and millet, overlaid with
sugar; also maccaroni-makers, the Taranjis being notoriously very fond
of dried farinaceous food. In Eastern Turkistan there still exist many
similar trades, and although their products are not equal to European
articles of the same kind—I mean here the fabrics of the formerly
western Chinese provinces— they are still said to be profitable.
Finally among the tradesmen we may mention millers, vinegar
manufacturers and potters. The number of factories amount to-day at
Kulja to 38, wherein over 131 hands are occupied. To this of course
other tradespeople have to be added, such as 169 boot-makers, 50
blacksmiths, 48 carpenters, 11 brass-founders, 3 silversmiths, 26
stone-cutters, and 2 tailors.
Republic of China
In 1914 the Ningyuan County was renamed
Yining County to avoid
confusion with other places in China named Ningyuan.
During the Ili Rebellion, the Chinese Muslim officer Liu Bin Di
engaged in combat against Soviet backed Turkic Muslim rebels, and was
killed in action in November 1944 in
Yining became a separate city from
Yining County in 1952. In 1962,
major Sino-Soviet clashes took place along the Ili
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)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: CMA 
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
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.
Ili River valley is far wetter than most of
Xinjiang and has rich
The City of
Yining borders on
Huocheng County in the west and the
Yining County in the east; across the river in the south is Qapqal
Xibe Autonomous County.
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
Climate data for
Yining (Gulja) (1971–2000)
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Percent possible sunshine
China Meteorological Administration
China Meteorological Administration 
The administrative divisions of
Yining include eight subdistricts, two
towns, and seven townships (the below names are pinyin transcriptions
may not necessarily be the official names):
Uyghur Latin (ULY)
Yili He Lu Subdistrict
Yīlí Hé Lù Jiēdào
Jiefang Lu Subdistrict
Jiěfàng Lù Jiēdào
Yining Border Economic Cooperation Zone
Yīníng Biānjìng Jīngjì Hézuò Qū
Yīlí Zhōu Nóngyè Liángzhǒng Fányù Zhōngxīn
Yīníng Shì Yuányìchǎng hé Yīlí Zhōu Nǎiniúchǎng
The city's nominal GDP was approximately 20.9 billion RMB (US$3.1
billion) as of 2015 with an annual increase of 7.6%.The nominal GDP
per capita was approximately 38,805 RMB(US$5976).
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.
Yining Airport is located several kilometers north of town, with
commercial service to
The Jinghe-Yining-Horgos Railway, an electrified railway from Ürümqi
Khorgos on the China-
Kazakhstan border was finished in
the late 2009. Daily passenger service - an overnight
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, Gulja, Kuldja and Kulja.
^ "National Data". Retrieved 20 April 2016.
^ "Yining: Bulletin for economical and social development in 2015".
Retrieved 20 April 2016.
^ "Kulja" in Encyclopædia Britannica 1911, e.g
^ Sir Clements Robert Markham (1875). The Geographical Magazine.
Trübner & Company. pp. 176–.
^ Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (1982). "Journal of the
Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs". 4–5. King Abdulaziz
University: 299. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
Xinjiang to intensify crackdown on separatists", China Daily,
^ 1997 Channel 4 UK report which can be seen here
^ a b
China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
^ "Bulletin for the economy and society development in 2015".
Retrieved May 6, 2010.
^ 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
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yining.
Yining City Government (in 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) (in Chinese)
County-level divisions of
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
Yiwu (Aratürük) County
Barköl Autonomous County
Yining (Ghulja) City
Yining (Ghulja) County
Zhaosu (Mongolküre) County
Qapqal Autonomous County
Baicheng (Bay) County
Wushi (Uqturpan) County
Kashgar (Kashi) City
Bachu (Maralwexi) County
Zepu (Poskam) County
Jiashi (Payzawat) County
Yecheng (Kargilik) County
Shache (Yarkant) County
Tashkurgan Autonomous County
Minfeng (Niya) County
Pishan (Guma) County
Moyu (Karakax) County
Tacheng (Qoqek) City
Wusu (Usu) City
Hoboksar Autonomous County
Qinghe (Qinggil) County
Fuyun (Koktokay) County
Fuhai (Burultokay) County
Habahe (Kaba) County
Mori Autonomous County
Bole (Bortala) City
Jinghe (Jing) County
Wenquan (Arixang) County
Yuli (Lopnur) County
Qiemo (Qarqan) County
Luntai (Bügür) County
Ruoqiang (Qarkilik) County
Yanqi Autonomous County
Wuqia (Ulugqat) County
County-level cities directly
administered by Xinjiang
Tacheng and Altay are prefectures within and under the
administration of the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture.
Ethnic minority autonomous areas
Cities of Xinjiang