Red Hill: in the heart of Urumqi

Legendary Red Hill - a symbol of Buddhist Urumqi

In the very heart of Urumqi city there rises Red Hill, for several centuries, considered as a symbol of the city. According to a legend, Red Hill, and its twin brother - Yamalike Hill, located 1 km opposite it, was the body of an ancient and powerful Red Dragon, which once lived in the territory of the Tien Shan. When the dragon was flying over the Jade Lake (Tianchi), the legendary Chinese emperor cut it in half and turned into two mountains, while the mighty sword forever separating them, became the Urumqi River.

So the saying goes. However, the scientists have their own point of view. According to a geological survey in the territory of modern Urumqi there existed an ancient mountain divided in two by an earthquake. Over time, in the formed gorge there originated a river, turning the whole area into an inhabitable oasis.

Today, on the top of Red Hill stands a 10-meter Zhenlong pagoda, built in the 50s of XX century in place of an ancient ruined Conquering the Dragon Pagoda. There were two pagodas of them. They were built on the tops of the two hills in honor of the events of 1785, when an earthquake and floods threatened to destroy the city. The locals believed that the mythical dragon wants to rise from the ashes, so the General Shang Anne ordered to erect the Conquering the Dragon Pagoda.

The modern Zhenlong pagoda looks like its predecessor. It stands on the top of Red Hill that greets a panoramic view of the city. In addition, Red Hill has several Buddhist temples, and at its foot, a wonderful park to relax and watch Uygur national performances: dances and theatricalities.