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Yinchuan Travel Guide

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Phone Code: 0951
Postal Code: 750000
Area: 9,491 Sq km (3,664.5 Sq miles)
Population: 1,993,088 (in 2010)
Nationalities: Han, Hui and Manchu
Neighboring Areas: Shaanxi and Gansu Provinces; Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
Location: Yinchuan is located in the central part of Ningxia Plain, at the upper reaches of the Yellow River and between the Helanshan Range and the Eerduosi Plateau.

 Physical Features: Mainly made up of mountains and plains, Yinchuan’s terrain is high in the south and west and low in the north and east. From west to east, the landform is various, including Helanshan Mountain, piedmont alluvial plain, alluvial plain, lake plain, river valley plain and flood land.

 History: Shuidonggou Site of the Paleolithic Age and Zhenbei Castle of the Neolithic Age are the earliest residential areas discovered in Yinchuan. In 221, Qinshihuang unified China and placed the Yinchuan area under the Beidi Prefecture. Later, Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220) built Beidiannong City also named Lu City or Yinhan City which was the earliest forerunner of Yinchuan City. In the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), the old city was destroyed. It was subsequently, rebuilt and renamed Huaiyuan Town, Xing State and Xingqing Prefecture Government successively. In the Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing (1644 - 1911) Dynasties, the area was one of the 'Nine Important Defense Areas', serving as Ningxia Prefecture Government. Thereafter, Yinchuan has always been the capital city of Ningxia area.

 Attractions: A city full of Islamic ethnic flavor, Ningxia has enjoyed the fame as 'Frontier Pearl’. It possesses rich Western Xia cultural relics, charming water town scenery, unique frontier sights as well as colorful Hui ethnic minority flavor. Helan Rock Paintings in the Helanshan Mountain are a true indication of people living here in ancient times. The Shuidonggou Site is one of the Paleolithic Age relics with the richest remains. The Western Xia Imperial Tombs is the largest imperial burial sites existing with the most complete remains on the ground; Shapotou has the fancy name 'Golden Sand and Humming Bell’; Sand Lake is the home to over one million birds of 198 species. The 108 Pagodas on the western shore of Qingtongxia Reservoir is a concentrated reflection of the Muslim culture. Other popular attractions are the Sanguankou Ming Dynasty Great Wall, Chengtiansi Pagoda, Nanxun Gate, Haibao Pagoda, Jade Emperor Pavilion and the magnificent Nanguan Great Mosque. Furthermore, the West Film and TV City based on Zhenbei Castle has gradually become the film base of China.

 Air: Yinchuan Hedong Airport, about 19 km away from Yinchuan City, has opened more than 30 air routes to large and medium Chinese cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, Chongqing and Urumqi.
 Train: Located on the Baotou-Lanzhou Railway, Ningxia Railway Station operates direct trains to Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, Xining, Lanzhou, Hohhot and Baotou as well as trains to the counties and cities within Ningxia Province.   

 Bus: Yinchuan South Bus Station located in the west of Qinghe South Street is the largest road passenger transport hub in northwest China at present, dispatching 40,000 passengers per day on average. Yinchuan Tourism Bus Station located at No. 40 Donghuan North Road operates regular buses to Western Xian Imperial Tombs, Zhenbei Castle West Film and TV City and Shuidonggou. In the city, there are dozens of public buses running between the old and new city areas. There are also tourist bus routes departing from Xinyue Square and running to Western Xia Imperial Tombs, Helanshan Rock Paintings and Zhenbei Castle Film and TV City respectively.
 Taxi: The taxis fares in the city are charged like this: CNY5 for the first 3 km (1.9 miles) and additional CNY1 per km for the rest way.

 Weather: Experiencing sandstorms for most times of the year, Ningxia has four distinctive seasons. The best visiting time is later spring from May to June when there is the annual ‘Flower Fair’ and autumn when the International Yellow River Culture Festival is held.

 Dining and Shopping
As the largest gathering place of the Hui ethnic minority in China, Yinchuan food has a Muslim focus. Well-known Muslim dishes in Yinchuan are Steamed Lamb, Mutton Eaten with Hands, Shredded Cake in Mutton or Beef Soup, Beef Noodles and Steamed Chicken with Vegetables. There are also many unique Hui ethnic flavor snacks like Facai, Youxiang and Naiyougao. Almost all of the streets in the city have Muslim restaurants which are usually without distinct Muslim signs, since only a few of them are non-Muslim. By contrast, the Han-ethnic-style restaurants are always marked with striking signs. Zhongshan Street serves both as a food street and the main road of the city which connects the north and south gates. Besides, Binhu Road is also a galaxy of restaurants, famed as 'Barbeque Street'.

The most well-known local products in Yinchuan should be the ‘Five Treasures of Ningxia’, namely, red Barbary wolfberry fruit, yellow liquorice, blue Helan Stone, white sheepskin and black facai. Meanwhile, the Ningxia rice famed as 'Pearl Rice' and 'Tribute Rice' is praised from home and abroad. Commercial areas are mostly in the old city area, including Xinhua Department Store which is the largest shopping mall in Yinchuan, Cultural Relic Main Store of Ningxia for cultural souvenirs and craftworks, Jiefang West Street where local specialties stores are the largest tourism souvenirs market in Yinchuan and Xinhua Pedestrian Street.  

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