Hami (Kumul) - oasis - city of the Eastern Xinjiang

Kumul - a history of the anchient city of China

To the north-west to Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous region there is the city of Hami (Kumul). The city’s population exceeds 404,000 people. It is considered an important road junction of the Lanzhou-Xinjiang railway. Furthermore, this is one of the largest industrial and agricultural centers of the region. There is a metallurgic processing works operating in the city, while the production of coal, gold, crude oil, precious stones and iron ore is carried out in the Hami Depression.

The city’s history is closely connected with that of the Great Silk Road. Prior to separation of the Great Silk Road to the Southern and Northern branches, Hami was considered the only gates from China to the West. Hami had a strong fortress, which served a boundary outpost in the west of the Chinese lands.

The people were beginning to populate the city’s region as early as in the Mesolithic epoch. The city began to be intensively developed in the Iron Age, and with the rise of the Great Silk Road, Hami became a trade, economic and political center in Eastern Turkestan.

The antiquity of the city’s history is confirmed by a necropolis of the Iron Age, revealed by archeologists 100 km from Kumul. Such necropolis aged 3,000 years old, was found there for the first time. The necropolis comprises 150 graves with articles of daily use, located in close vicinity from each other. This was a rather unusual phenomenon for Chinese culture.

The Hami suburbs are notable not only for historical monuments, but also for their amazing semiarid nature. There, one can hear “singing sands”, one of the most beautiful phenomena of nature. Furthermore, in the Hami Depression, there is a storage facility Shichentszi, one of the largest in the world.

Almost every city in Xinjiang specializes in some fruit, and Hami is no exception. It grows the hamigua, a melon variety famous throughout Asia. This melon is very soft and almost seedless. Furthermore Kumul raises the Barkol horses, one of the best breeds in China.

Tourist from all over the world come to Hami to enjoy the inimitable nature of the city and its suburbs as well as to visit ancient and medieval monuments of architecture dated back to the heyday of the Great Silk Road and the city itself.