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The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region
The venerated history of Ningxia on the Loess Plateau dates back to some 30,000 years ago, when the region began to teem with human habitation. Even today, ruins of the Great Wall built during the Qin (221-207 BC) can still be found along local mountain ridges. A water conservancy project built during the Han (206 BC-220 AD) is still providing precious irrigation water more than a millennium later today.
Before it was conquered in war and turmoil, Ningxia was the territory of a kingdom of a recondite sort the Western Xia which was locked in armed confrontation with the Song (960-1279), Liao (916-1127) and Jin (115-1234) for a span of 189 years. Historical tales about the rise and fall of this legendary kingdom are still very much on the lips of storytellers today.
This is a land of hope as well, a land glorified by the distinct folkways of the ethnic Hui people who have, through the ages, lived in fraternity with some 20 other ethnic peoples such as the Hans, Manchus, Mongols and Dongxiang. Today, this multiracial population is contributing its wisdom and efforts to turning the small region of Ningxia into a prosperous economic dynamo and a picturesque cultural phenomenon.
The name Ningxia was first coined during the Yuan(1271-1234). The region, the original Zhongxing Proto-Province, was renamed Ningxia Prefecture-Pircuit in 1288, or the 25th year of the reign of the Yuan. The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, established in 1958, covers a total area of 51, 800 square kilometres and has a population of 5. 615 million. Yinchuan is the capital. The region is bordered by Gansu on the south, Shanxi on the east, and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the north.
A rolling loess country graced with a gigantic patchwork of green paddy fields, golden deserts, groves of lush willows and bushes of red flowers this mixture of northern highland grandeur with scenic niceties that can otherwise be seen only south of the Yangtze, is made possible by the region’s one-of-a-kind topography and landform.