| Ningxia University, Northern Nationalities University, Ningxia Medical College|
Yinchuan is the capital of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Peoples Republic of China, and former capital of the Western Xia Empire of the Tanguts. It has an area of 4,467 km (2,776 mi) and a total population of 1.99 million. Its built up area is home to 1,290,170 inhabitants spread on 3 urban districts. The name of the city literally means "silver river"; the character for "river" (Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is the same as that in Sichuan, but not as those in, for example, the Yellow River (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) or Yangtze River (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ).
However, the climate is extremely dry in winter and is known to cause dry skin for non-locals.
Yinchuan originally was a xian (county) under the name of Fuping in the 1st century BC; its name was changed to Huaiyuan in the 6th century AD. After the fall of the Tang dynasty in 907, it was occupied by the Tangut Xi-Xia dynasty, of which it was the capital. After the destruction of the Xi-Xia dynasty by the Mongols in 1227, it came under the rule of the Mongol Yuan dynasty. Under the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties, it was a prefecture of Ningxia. In 1928, when the province of Ningxia was formed from part of Gansu, it became the capital city. In 1954, when Ningxia province was abolished, the city was put in Gansu province; but, with the establishment of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region in 1958, Yinchuan once again became the capital.
Traditionally, Yinchuan was an administrative and commercial center. In the 1950s it had many commercial enterprises, and there were some handicrafts but no modern industry. The city has since grown considerably. Extensive coal deposits discovered on the eastern bank of the Yellow River, near Shizuishan, 100 km (62 mi) to the north, have made Shizuishan a coal-mining center.
Yinchuan, however, remains largely non-industrial. The immediate plains area, intensively irrigated by a system developed as long ago as the Han (206 BC–AD 220) and Tang (618–907) dynasties, is extremely productive. Yinchuan is the chief agricultural market and distribution center for this area and also deals in animal products from the herds tended by nomads in the surrounding grasslands. It is a market for grain and has flour mills, as well as rice-hulling and oil-extraction plants. The wool produced in the surrounding plains supplies a woolen-textile mill. Yinchuan is a center for the Muslim (Hui) minority peoples, who constitute a third of the population. Yinchuan currently serves as a major trade route between Western cities such as Urumqi and the East.
On 23 July 1993 an airliner that was attempting its second take-off veered off the runway, crashed into a lake, and broke apart; at least 59 of the 113 persons aboard the craft were killed.
Yinchuan lies in the middle of the Yinchuan or Ningxia Plain. It is sheltered from the deserts of Mongolia by the high ranges of the Helan Mountain to its west. The Yellow River runs through Yinchuan from southwest to northeast. The average elevation of Yinchuan is 1,100 meters (about 3,608 feet). The urban center of Yinchuan lies about halfway between the Yellow River and the edge of Helan Mountain.
The citys gross domestic product per capita was ¥31,436 (US$4,526) in 2008, ranking 197th of 659 Chinese cities. Its main industries are the production of Chinese wolfberry, wheat, apple, and rice. In 2010, Yinchuan is officially assignment as the site for China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. It provides great opportunities for Yinchuan to develop as the business center for China and Arab States. In the national level, Yinchuan has been holding various events such as China-Arab States Expo, to function as a business bridge between China and Arab States.
The citys attractions include the Sand-lake, the Western Xia tombs, and the China Western film Studios.
Sand Lake is 35 miles north of Yinchuan. Being a world of desert and lake, it is an ideal place for bird watching, sand slide and cableway slide. Appreciating reeds, lotus and fish are also popular.
The Western Xia Imperial Tombs are 15.5 miles west of Yinchuan on east side of Mt. Helan. Since June 1972, nine imperial tombs and 253 lesser tombs have been unearthed, which are as grand as Ming Tombs in Beijing. With a total area of more than 19.3 square miles, it is unique among royal burials.
China West Film Studio?which has been famed as One Superb in China, and Treasure of Ningxia Province?is located at the east foot of the magnificent Helanshan Mountain?25 kilometers away from the Railway Station 0f Yinchuan City,48 kilometers away from the Hedong Airport. It produced The Herdsman, Red Sorghum, Lovers Grief over the Yellow River, New Dragon Gate Inn, Ashes of Time, A Chinese Odyssey, Qiaos Grand Courtyard (TV series) and other nearly one hundred films.
There are two pagodas in Yinchuan that are part of the Eight Famous Scenery of Ningxia: one is the Haibao Pagoda in the northern suburb and the other is the Chengtiansi Pagoda in the west.
It is also possible to see parts of the Great Wall which are located near the city.
Since 2000, Yinchuan has hosted the annual Yinchuan International Car and Motorcycle Tourism Festival, which usually occurs in August. It is the largest event of its kind in China; approximately 3000 motorcycles attend annually.