Ningxia, China

Position of Ningxia in China
ProvinceNìng xià 'better summer'
Short name Níng
Population7.203 million (0.51%) [30th] comparison table
Area66,000 km2 [25,483 mile2] (0.69%) [27th]
GDP54,432 (1.57%) [22nd]
NeighborsInner Mongolia Shaanxi Gansu
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Beijing Tianjin Shanghai Hong Kong Xinjiang Tibet Qinghai Gansu Inner Mongolia Heilongjiang Jilin Liaoning Yunnan Sichuan Guangxi Hainan Taiwan Guangdong Guizhou Chongqing Ningxia Shandong Fujian Zhejiang Shaanxi Shanxi Hebei Henan Hunan Hubei Jiangxi Anhui Jiangsu
Ningxia, mosque, muslim
Mosque for Hui people, Ningxia

Ningxia is more formally known as the ‘Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region’, and so is not strictly a province of China; the designation reflects the high proportion (34%) of Hui people that make it ethnically diverse. Most Hui people are Muslims who moved in from Central Asia centuries ago. Ningxia is situated on the bend of the Yellow River (Huang He) as it heads north towards Mongolia. It was created in 1928 to govern a larger area (including parts of Mongolia) only to disappear in 1954 before re-creation in 1958. Apart from the waters of the river it is a dry and dusty place with thick loess deposits.

The Great Wall marks its northern boundary, its southern border follows the Qingshui river basin. It is a poor province, only moderately industrialized; although the recent discovery of oil; coal and gas fields has brought rapid development in places.

Settled as early as the Xia dynasty, Ningxia flourished as the Yellow River offered reliable irrigation as here the river is not so prone to flooding as it is further downstream. The Xintongxia Dam 铜峡 and Qintong Gorge (1968) hydro-electric dams on the Yellow River have helped to control river flow and generate electricity.

Ningxia, Western Xixia tombs, tomb
Western Xia tombs, Ningxia Copyright © Dreamstime see image license


Yinchuan ( Yín chuān) or ‘Phoenix City’ was once the capital of the Xixia (Western Xia) kingdom in the 11th century that governed most of north-western China for a while. The city is split into the modern part (Xincheng) and the old part (Laocheng) to the east. There is a provincial museum with a large collection of finds from the Western Xia culture. It has large Drum Tower and Yuhuang Ge of Ming dynasty date.

Ningxia, drum tower, gateway
Yinchuan Drum Tower, Ningxia Copyright © Dreamstime see image license

There are many interesting sites to visit in the rest of Ningxia including the Western Xia Tombs which are mini pyramids at Helan Shan; Baisikou Twin Tower ; Haibao Tower; Chengtian Xita; Nanguan mosque and colorful markets.

The Hui (Muslim) people are descended from traders along the Silk Route who settled here and then by Central Asian immigrants during the Yuan dynasty. Portions of the rammed earth portion of the Great Wall can be seen at several locations along this vital defensive segment of the wall along the arterial Silk Road. Complex irrigation schemes created as early as the Han dynasty have allowed agriculture to flourish in the river valleys. To the south of Yinchuan lies Qingtongxia Zhen with 108 dagobas of Western Xia or Yuan dynasty date.

Ningxia, dagoba, Buddhism
The 108 Dagobas on Xiakou Mountain, Ningxia

Southern Ningxia

The southern portion of Ningxia province is generally poorer with a high proportion of Muslims. Liupin mountain is a scenic area. Xumi shan has a great many carved figures. Tongxin has one of the largest mosques in the province, and is built in the Chinese style. To the west near Zhongwei, Shapotou is set on the fringes of the Tengger Desert and here the sand can be heard to ‘sing’ in the wind.

Ningxia is famous for growing Wolfberries or ‘goji’ 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.

Ningxia Climate

Ningxia belongs to the dry northern region of China. It has cold winters and short but hot summers with little rainfall.


Yinchuan Hedong Airport 银川河东机场 INC IATA / ZLIC ICAO
The airport has 1 terminal and is located 15.5 miles (25.0 kms) from Yinchuan. Live Flight information , Airport information , rank in China 40
See map of location Yinchuan Hedong Airport
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Ningxia Climate

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Major CitiesPopulation
Shizuishan 136,570
Yinchuan 475,101

City populations for 2012, Province statistics National Bureau of Statistics 2014

See also