| Peoples Republic of China|
Wuwei (Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is a prefecture-level city in northwest central Gansu province. In the north it borders Inner Mongolia, in the southwest, Qinghai. Its central location between three western capitals, Lanzhou, Xining, and Yinchuan makes it an important business and transportation hub for the area. Because of its position along the Hexi Corridor, historically the only route from central China to western China and the rest of Central Asia, many major railroads and national highways pass through Wuwei.
In ancient times, Wuwei was called Liangzhou ( - the name retained by todays Wuweis central urban district) and is the eastern terminus of the Hexi Corridor. People began settling here 5,000 years ago. It was a key link for the Northern Silk Road, and a number of important archaeological finds were uncovered from Wuwei, including ancient copper carts with stone animals. The motifs and types of objects in the Wuwei graves, as well as their earthenware, lacquer, and bronze composition, constitute typical examples of the Han Chinese burial style that can be found all over China. Other graves found along the Hexi Corridor show Xiongnu and other minority influence, which are used to trace regimes such as the Northern Liang. It became an important provincial capital during the Former Han Dynasty as the Hou Hanshu makes clear:
"In the third year [170 CE], Meng Tuo, the Inspector of Liangzhou, sent the Provincial Officer Ren She, commanding five hundred soldiers from Dunhuang, who, with the Wuji Major Cao Kuan, and Chief Clerk of the Western Regions, Zhang Yan, brought troops from Yanqi (Karashahr), Qiuci (Kucha), and the Nearer and Further Kingdoms of Jushi (Turfan and Jimasa), altogether numbering more than 30,000, to punish Shule (Kashgar). They attacked the town of Zhenzhong (Arach) but, having stayed for more than forty days without being able to take it, they withdrew. Following this, the kings of Shule (Kashgar) killed one another repeatedly while the Imperial Government was unable to prevent it."
In 121 BC Han emperor Wudi brought his cavalry here to defend the Hexi Corridor against the Xiongnu Huns. His military success allowed him to expand the corridor westward. Its importance as a stop along the Silk Road made it a crossroads of cultures and ethnic groups from all over central Asia. Numerous Buddhist grottoes and temples in the area attest to its role as a path for bringing Buddhism from India and Afghanistan to China.
During the Three Kingdoms period (184-280), Liangzhou was governed by Qiang leader Ma Teng. After the death of Ma Teng, Ma Chao assumed the post and governed the province for a short time before it fell into the hands of Cao Cao, ruler of Wei Kingdom.
Famous cultural relics from Wuwei include the Galloping Bronze Horse (), Western Xia stele (), White Tower Temple (), Tianti Mountain Grotto (), Luoshi Temple Tower (), and the Wen Shrine ().
Wuweis geography is dominated by three plateaus, the Loess, Tibetan, and Mongolian. Elevation can be generalized as, the south is high and the north is low, with elevations ranging from 1,020 to 4,874 metres (3,346 to 15,991 ft) above sea-level. Its area is 33,000 km2 (13,000 sq mi). Average annual temperature is 7.8 °C (46.0 °F). The climate is arid or semi-arid with rainfall between 60 to 610 mm (2.4 to 24.0 in). Evaporation is from 1,400 to 3,000 mm (55 to 118 in), creating a net loss of water each year. There are 2200–3000 sunlight hours each year and from 85–165 frost free days. Temperatures during summer in excess of 45.0 °C (113.0 °F) in the shade are by no means unheard of.
Southwest of Wuwei, there is a 230 metres (750 ft) thick Tianzhu Formation made of clastics intercalated with sandy shale and shale. Minerals deposits occurring in the vicinity of Wuwei include graphite, iron, titanium, and limestone.