Xining Travel Guide
People of the bustling cities may find peace, fresh air and idyllic surroundings on the Qinghai-Tibet highland. The fluffy white clouds, purely blue sky, vista of vast grassland on which flocks of sheep and herds of yaks are grazing, creates a sanctuary free from the turmoil of modern cities. On this mystical, unspoiled land, travelers will find Xining-capital of Qinghai Province.
Although blessed with very few sights, Qinghai’s captial, Xining, is home to a city mix of minority peoples, mostly Hui Muslims and Tibetans with a sprinkling of Kazakhs and Mongols. From the 16th century, it served as a stopover on the Silk Road’s lesser-used southern route, and is now a good base for exploring Qinghai. Xining lies in a remote valley, and, at 2,200 m, experiences a cool summer and freezing winter. The Great Mosque, one of the largest and most impressive in northwest China, is situated on Dongguan Dajie, close to the city center. Restored recently, it was originally built in the 14th century, and is thoroughly Chinese in design, with elements such as flying eaves and vividly-colored arches. Enclosed within is a public square, that is usually bustling with worshipers.
Xining is also called the Summer Resort Capital of China for its cool summer. The region also provides a number of attractions making a visit to the area well worth considering. The scenery of the Qinghai Lake, situated within Xining, provides an escape from fervent cities and allows you to experience beautiful natural sceneries. The lake itself is quite amazing. The Birds Island, situated on the northwest of Qinghai Lake, is waiting to present you with an extensive array of birds. To the southwest of Xining, is the birthplace of the founder of the Gelugpa Sect. The gem of the Tibetan culture-Ta'er Monastery was built here. To the north of Xining is the Northern Buddhist Temple. Climbing the temple will reward you with a view of the city from the mountaintop. A site not to be missed is the Dongguan Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in northern China.
Xining was once an important stop on the century-old Silk Road. The boom of the Silk Road in the Han Dynasty is a major factor for the city's rise. But the city's historical role gradually declined as the trade route fell into disuse. Xining's importance in the old trade route means that it has a lot of historical sites. In and around Xining, visitors can find the Ta'er Monastery (Kumbum), one of the two most important Tibetan monasteries outside Tibet, Dongguan Great Mosque. Xining also provide access to some natural attractions with superlative beauty including the Qinghai Lake, the largest inland salt-water lake in China, the Bird Island on the west shore of the Qinghai Lake.
The recently finished Qinghai-Tibet railway marks a new era for Xining's significant role in tourism. As an important stop along the Qinghai-Tibet track, Xining will be a vital stop for travelers to Tibet. The first luxurious five star sight-seeing trains will start there bound for Tibet highland. Xining's similarity with Tibet in weather allows Xining an "adapted stop" for visitor who will then gradually adapt themselves to the harsh weather condition in Tibet.