Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Ning for short, is located in the center of northwestern China and the middle and upper reaches of the Yellow River. Covering an area of 66000 square kilometers, the region is bordered by Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia and Gansu. The ethnic Hui people make up one third of the local population of 5.62 million that also includes Han, Manchurian, and so on. Its capital is Yinchuan.
Most of the beautiful and richly endowed land is covered by mountains and plateaus, and the plain area makes up one fourth of the land. The Yellow River, 397-kilometers in Ningxia, has a drainage area of over 1000 square kilometers. Crisscrossed by a labyrinth of waterways, and endowed with abundant natural resources, Ningxia is regarded as rich as the well-endowed area south of the Yangtze River. As the saying goes, "Of all the regions along the Yellow River, Ningxia is the most prosperous." Chinese wolfberries (red), licorice roots (yellow), Helan Stone (blue), hair weeds (black) and goatskins (white) are the five most famous native products of Ningxia.
Long history and unique landscape have bestowed and abundance of tourist resources on Ningxia. Yinchuan is one of national famous historical and cultural cities. Main tourist spots are Mausoleums of the Western Xia Kingdom, Qingtong Gorge, Haibao Pagoda, Sumeru Grottoes, High Temple, Shapotou, Nanguan Muslim Mosque, Sand Lake Scenic Spots, and so on.
High Temple at Zhongwei
Located north to Zhongwei County, the High Temple was first built in the period of the reign of Emperor Yongle (1368-1398) of the Ming Dynasty. The High Temple was originally called "the New Temple". By the Qing Dynasty, it became a large-scaled architecture complex Kangxi of Qing Dynasty; it was renovated and renamed "Pavilion of Jade Emperor." The present complexes were mostly constructed during and after Qing Emperor Xianfeng's reign. The temple is famous for its height. On a high terrace of about 4000 square meters, buildings and pavilions involving more than 260 rooms were constructed. The high Temple is an outstanding representative of Ningxia's ancient architectures. It was a place for religious activities of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. 174 statues of different religions are protected well in the temple.
Shapotou (Top of the Sand Slope) Tourist and Scenic Zone is located in Zhongwei County, bordered the Tengger Desert in north and the Yellow River in south. A number of oases lie right in the heart of the area. One of China' four humming sand dunes, "the Golden Sand and Hunming Bell", is situated at the top of Shapotou. Nicknamed as "the Deserts Capital of the World", it is famous for not only its unique natural scenes, but also achievements of subduing the deserts.
Mausoleums of the Western Xia Kingdom
Ning kings of the ancient Kingdom of Western Xia (1038-1227) were buried in the area, 30 kilometers west to Yinchuan City on the eastern side of the Helan Mountain. In the 50-square-kilometer graveyard, there are also 193 tombs of high officials, generals and aristocrats of the kingdom. It is one of the largest and best-preserved imperial graveyards in China. The mausoleums are unique not only in structure but also in their sheer sizes and close proximity to each other, and are reputed as "the Pyramids of China".