Situated near the geographical central northern edge, Ningxia Province belongs more naturally to the North-Western group of provinces. It shares the same harsh, dry climate bordered by the Yellow River and Great Wall to the North it stretches south to the mountains. It is one of the five autonomous regions within China mainly due to the large number of ethnic Hui people of Muslim faith who live in the southern part. These people are descended from the Central European and Middle Eastern traders who plied their trade at this major trading border on the Silk Route.
Popular Cities: Yinchuan, Shizuishan, Wuzhong, Guyuan, Zhongwei, Qingtongxia
Average temperature: -10°C to -7°C (14ºF to 19.4ºF) in January, 17°C to 24°C (62.6ºF to 75.2ºF) in July.
Places to visit
1. Yinchuan, the region capital, is a beautiful ancient city having the Helan Mountains to its west and the Yellow River to its east. Nestling in luxuriant greenery it looks like a piece of green jade inlaid on the Ningxia Plains. Yingchuan area is one of the places where the ancient culture of the Yellow River Valley came into being. Yinchuan or ‘Phoenix City‘ was once the capital of the Xixia (Western Xia) kingdom in the 11th century.
2. The Tombs of the Rulers of the Xixia (Western Xia) is situated at the east foot of the Helan Mountain, 40 kilometers west of Yinchuan There are eight tombs of the rulers and more than 70 tombs of sacrificial victims covering a wide area. Each of the tombs is a complete architectural complex. The halls above the ground are in ruins, but the mourning platforms and sacred walls remain in imposing style.
3. Sea Treasure Pagoda stands in the courtyard of the Treasure Pagoda Temple in the northern suburb of the city. It is a 54-metre high square structure of brick in classical Chinese style. The pagoda is unique in style having clear lines, sharp angles, and rich inlaid works. Although little is known about the year when it was first built, it is said that the pagoda was rebuilt by the ruler of the Western Xia in the fifth century A.D. Now it is a top rank relic to be protected by the central government.
4. The Helanshan Mountain lies to the northwest of Yinchuan. They stretch over 200 kilometers from north to south and 15 to 50 kilometers from east to west. Lofty and precipitous, there are natural barriers of the west part of the Yinchuan Plain. At the east foot of the mountains, lie places of historic interest with beautiful scenery such as the Helan Temple, the Mosque, etc, all of which are nice summer resorts.
5. Xumi Mountain Grottos, at the northern end of the Liupan Mountain range, are situated at the east food of Xumi Mountain. Building grottos here was started in the North Dynasty and carried on in successive dynasties. There are 20 well preserved grottos now. They are an important heritage of grotto art in China.
6. A Hundred and Eight Pagodas at Tongxiagu (Bronze Gorge) are built on the steep slope of the west bank of the Yellow River at Bronze Gorge. A huge triangle is formed by these pagodas arrange in 12 rows, offering a spectacular view. Below these pagodas, there is a big dam across the roaring Yellow River with a lake created by the dam. Sailing on the lake, visitors can enjoy the wonderful scene of the lake and gorge with 108 pagodas on its slope.
7. Scenic Spot at Zhongwei County lies on the edge of TengeliShapotou is world famous not only its own natural beauty but also the great successes achieved in bringing desert under control in the area. There is a sand hill over a hundred meters high. It is as steep as a waterfall. If one slides down the slope from the top, a loud bell-like sound can be heard. So it is called “Golden Bell Sand”. After enjoying the “Golden Bell Sand” visitors can take a ride on a sheep skin raft on the river or ride on a camel roving around the desert. Staying here over night, visitors can watch and enjoy the beautiful sunset and the sunrise the next morning.
8. Ningxia is famous for growing Wolfberries or ‘gouji’ berries that have been touted as a health or super food in Europe and America. It is one of the ingredients of a local specialty eight treasure tea Babaocha. Licorice Root is also grown in this area.