In the continental arid areas of Xinjiang.Yili is an exception,for which is like an island amidst the dry gobi-deserts.Yili is surrounded in three sides by high mountains where there are well-developed glaciers and plenty of snow.And River Yili and its major branches flow through five basins of Yili area,which nourish the fime farmland and vast pastureland here.Yili is well known for its rich resources.It was the hometown of ‘Heavenly Horses’,which were recorded in the literature of the Han Dynasty.More,Yili land has been an important area where nomads lived and their cultures developed.And in the 18th century when the Qing Dynasty reunited the whole areas of the Western Regions,the highest Administration office of Yili General as the top administrative body of Xinjiang was established in Yili and then the office built the famous mine cities.Yili occupies a strategic position in the transportation between China and the west,and used to be an important juncture on the Silk Road.Now it is a key pass for the foreign trade of west China. Ili Prefecture borders on Kazakhstan and the Khorgas Pass is one of the main ports of border trade to Kazakhstan, Uzbekslta, Kyrgyzstan. etc.
Yining in history:
The ancient Huiyuan City,located on the north bank of Yili River,was built in 1736.It used to be the Residence office of Yili general of the Qing Dynasty as well as the political and military center of the then Xinjiang.It was recorded that it was very prosperous with shops lining up the streets and businessmen coming and going at the time.In 1871,the city was destroyed by the invading Cazr Russian troops and it was rebuilt later.
The city is in the middle of Yili River Valley,against the Kegurqin Mountains and facing to River Yili in the south.In the Qing Times,it was the Ninyuan City,and now it is the capital of Yili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture,The city proper and its suburbs are like a huge garden with poplar,apple trees everywhere.