September 1, 2009

Qinghai means green lake in Chinese and this is the largest inland saltwater lake in China. Lying in the northeast of Qinghai Province, approximately 150km (193 miles) from Xining at 3,200 meters (10,500ft) above sea level, the lake stretches endlessly into the horizon. It has an area of 4,635 sq km and is more than 360km (220 miles) in circumference.
The lake has an abundant supply of fish, which in turn attracts large flocks of birds including many migratory breeds. Major sights on or around the lake are: Bird Island, Haixin Hill, Haixi Hill, Sankuaishi (Three Stones), and Sand Island.
In Qinghai Lake Bird Island is the most charming and attractive place.  The island is situated on the western shore of Qinghai Lake, and due to the receding of waters off its shores, the island has been turned into a peninsula. Though it covers an area of slightly less than 1000 square meters, it attracts many migrating birds in spring and summer. To these hundreds of thousands of migrant birds, the island has become a very important bird sanctuary. Thousands of birds of different species such as geese, gulls, sandpipers and cormorants, nest on the island and the sound of its calls, twitters is carried far and away. For these birds as well as bird watching enthusiasts, the island represents nothing short of a piece of heaven.

There are many famous scenic spots in Qinghai Lake, and Haixin Shan (Hill of the Sea Heart) is one of them. Haixin Shan is an isle shaped like a spiral shell located in the middle south of the lake, covering an area of 1 square kilometre. The body of the isle is made up of ivory white granite and gneiss. With the coverage of green vegetation over 50%, the isle is a good place for horse-raising. What’s more, temples and other subsidiary buildings well suit the lake and the hill, and on the peak of the hill the panorama of the Qinghai Lake can be overlooked.

 

September 1, 2009

 

As the capital city of Qinghai Province , Xining is the provincial center of politics, economy, culture, education, technology, transportation and commerce. Xining lies in the eastern part of Qinghai-Tibet plateau, and the upper reaches of Shuang Shui River . The average altitude of the urban area is 2275 meters. It is not very cold in winter and not very hot in summer, belonging to the typical mainland plateau climate. The average annual temperature is 7.7 centigrade, and the annual rainfall is 425 millimeter.

Xining has a history of over 2100 years, and was a chief commercial hub on the Hexi Corridor caravan route to Tibet, handling especially timber, wool and salt in ancient times. The trade along the Hexi Corridor was part of a larger trade corridor along the Northern Silk Road, whose use was intensified in the first century BC after efforts by the Han Dynasty to control this route.
In 1104 in the Song dynasty , it received the nam eXining (meaning “peace in the west”) and has been the seat of a prefecture or superior prefecture under that name since that time. With the rise of Tibetan Buddhism (Lamaism), which began in the 7th century AD, Xining became an important religious center; Qinghai’s largest lamasery, a holy place to the Yellow Hat sect of Buddhists, was located at Kunbum, some 19 km to the southeast.

Xining was the extraterritorial capital of the Koko Nor territory and remained in Gansu until 1928, when it became the provincial capital of the newly established independent province of Qinghai. Xining was given municipal status in 1945.

The city is composed of four districts (East, West, South & North), three counties (Da Tong, Huang Zhong, Huang Yuan), one Economic &Tech Development Zone which is under construction, and one Cheng Nan New District. With a total area of 7,665 square kilometers, it has a total population of 2.1 million and an urban coverage of 350 square kilometers and 1.03 million urban populations. Xining is a multinational and multi-religion city, consisting of 36 nationalities such as Han, Hui, Tu, Tibetan, Mongolian, Manchu and Salar etc, which constitute 25% of the total population.