库尔勒市 (Chinese)
كورلا شەھىرى (Uyghur)
ᠺᠦᠷᠡᠯ᠎ᠡ ᠬᠣᠲᠠ (Mongolian)
Kurla, Kuerle
Location of Korla City (pink) in Bayingolin Prefecture (yellow) and Xinjiang
Location of Korla City (pink) in Bayingolin Prefecture (yellow) and Xinjiang
Korla is located in Bayingolin
Location of the city centre in Xinjiang
Korla is located in Xinjiang
Korla (Xinjiang)
Korla is located in China
Korla (China)
Coordinates (Korla municipal government): 41°43′33″N 86°10′29″E / 41.7259°N 86.1746°E / 41.7259; 86.1746
Autonomous regionXinjiang
Autonomous prefectureBayingolin
Municipal seatXincheng Subdistrict
 • County-level city7,219.48 km2 (2,787.46 sq mi)
 • Urban246 km2 (95 sq mi)
 • County-level city779,352
 • Density110/km2 (280/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density3,100/km2 (8,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (China Standard)
Postal code
Area code0996
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese库尔勒
Traditional Chinese庫爾勒
Literal meaningKrorain
Mongolian name
Mongolian scriptᠬᠣᠷᠣᠯ
Uyghur name

Korla,[5][6] also known as Kurla[7][8][9][10][11] or Kuerle,[6] is the second largest city by population in Xinjiang, China. It is a county-level city and the seat of Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, the largest prefecture of China.

Korla has existed since at least the Han dynasty. Korla is known for its production of fragrant pears and is a production center for the Tarim oil fields.


Han Dynasty

Korla was known as Yuli (尉犁) (reconstructed pronunciation of first character: *i̯wəd)[12] during the Han Dynasty. Yuli is said in the Hanshu or 'History of the Former Han' (covering the period 125 BCE to 23 CE), to have had 1,200 households, 9,600 individuals and 2,000 people able to bear arms. It also mentions that it adjoined Shanshan and Qiemo (Charchan) to the south.[13]

In 61 CE, the Xiongnu led some 30,000 troops from 15 kingdoms including Korla, Karashahr, and Kucha in a successful attack on Khotan.

In 94 CE, the Chinese general Ban Chao sent soldiers to punish the kingdoms of Yanqi (Karashahr), Weixu (Hoxud), Yuli (Korla), and Shanguo (in the western Kuruk mountains).

"He then sent the heads of the two kings of Yanqi (Karashahr) and Yuli (Korla) to the capital where they were hung in front of the residences of the Man and Yi princes in the capital (Luoyang). (Ban) Chao then appointed Yuan Meng, who was the Yanqi (Karashahr) Marquis of the Left, king (of Kashgar). The kings of Yuli (Korla), Weixu (Hoxud), and Shanguo (in the western Kuruk mountains) were all replaced."[14]

After the rebellion of the "Western Regions" (106−125 CE), only the kings of Korla and Hoxud refused to submit to the Chinese. Ban Yong, the son of Ban Chao, along with the Governor of Dunhuang, attacked and defeated them.[15]

Tarim Basin in the 3rd century

Three Kingdoms era

The 3rd century Weilüe records that Korla, Hoxud and Shanwang (Shanguo) were all dependencies of Karashahr.[16]


The contemporaneous historian Musa Sayrami (1836–1917) stated that ruler Yaqub Beg of Yettishar was poisoned on May 30, 1877, in Korla by the former hakim (local city ruler) Niyaz Hakim Beg of Yarkand,[17] although Niyaz Hakim Beg and other sources stated that his death was by suicide or in battle against the Qing dynasty.[17][18]

Qing dynasty

Francis Younghusband, passed through "Korlia" in 1887 on his overland journey from Beijing to India. He described it as being prosperous and the country round about well-cultivated, with more land under cultivation than any other town he had passed. Maize seemed to be the major crop but rice was also grown. There was a small Chinese town, about 400 yards (370 m) square with mud walls about 35 feet (11 m) high and with a ditch. There were round bastions at the angles, but none at the gateway. A mile (1.6 km) south was the Turk town, but its walls were in ruins. It had one main street about 700 yards (640 m) long. "The shops are somewhat better than at Karashar, but not so good as at Turfan."[19]

People's Republic of China

Korla was incorporated as a city on September 30, 1979.[20]

On January 8, 1965, more than 170 Chinese Communist cadres were immolated by Mongols during an anti-Communist riot at a state farm in Korla (Kurla).[10]

In September 2019, drone video appeared which ASPI (a defense industries funded Australian think tank)[21][22] alleged as showing the mass transfer of hundreds of ethnic minority prisoners, which drew the comment "deeply disturbing" from Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne in describing the video.[23]


Korla is approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) southwest from Ürümqi, although, due to the intervening Tian Shan, the road distance is considerably greater.

The Iron Gate Pass (Tiemen Pass) leading to Karasahr is about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) north of the city and, as it was easily defended, playing an important part in protecting the ancient Silk Roads from raiding nomads from the north.

The Kaidu River, also known as the Konqi River or Kongque River, flows through the center of Korla, a unique feature amongst cities in Xinjiang. While the literal meaning of the Chinese name "Kongque River" is "Peacock River", the name originates from a semantically distorted transliteration of the Uyghur name "Konqi Darya" which means "Tanner's River".[24]


Korla has a cold desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWk) with extreme seasonal variation in temperature. The monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from −6.6 °C (20.1 °F) in January to 26.8 °C (80.2 °F), and the annual mean is 12.0 °C (53.6 °F), which is still warmer than most locales at the same latitude further east in the country. Precipitation totals only 59.2 millimetres (2.33 in) annually, and mostly falls in summer, as compared to an annual evaporation rate of about 2,800 mm (110 in); there are about 3,000 hours of bright sunshine annually. The frost-free period averages 210 days. The period between April and October closely resembles subtropical climates, but the continental nature is facilitated by the rapid drop of temperatures going into winter.

Climate data for Korla (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1971–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 8.6
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) −1.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −7.1
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −11.8
Record low °C (°F) −25.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 1.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 2.4 1.1 0.7 1.3 2.9 4.6 5.8 4.6 2.6 1.4 0.9 2.6 30.9
Average snowy days 6.7 2.4 0.6 0.3 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 1.3 6.2 17.7
Average relative humidity (%) 65 50 34 30 33 37 41 42 46 51 58 68 46
Mean monthly sunshine hours 170.5 192.6 232 249.3 280.1 274.4 287.3 278.3 267.8 256.8 201.6 154.5 2,845.2
Percent possible sunshine 57 63 62 62 62 60 63 66 73 76 70 55 64
Source 1: China Meteorological Administration[25][26]
Source 2: Weather China[27]

Administrative divisions

Bayingolin Hotel in Korla; its name is spelled out in Chinese, Mongolian, and English.

Korla administers 7 subdistricts, 3 towns and 9 townships.[28]

Name Simplified Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Uyghur (UEY) Uyghur Latin (ULY) Mongolian (traditional) Mongolian (Cyrillic) Administrative division code
Tuanjie Subdistrict 团结街道 Tuánjié Jiēdào ئىتتىپاق كوچا باشقارمىسى Ittipaq kocha bashqarmisi 652801001
Saybagh Subdistrict 萨依巴格街道 Sàyībāgé Jiēdào سايباغ كوچا باشقارمىسى saybagh kocha bashqarmisi 652801002
Tianshan Subdistrict 天山街道 Tiānshān Jiēdào تەڭرىتاغ كوچا باشقارمىسى tengritagh kocha bashqarmisi 652801003
Xincheng Subdistrict 新城街道 Xīnchéng Jiēdào يېڭىشەھەر كوچا باشقارمىسى yëngisheher kocha bashqarmisi ᠰᠢᠨ ᠴᠧᠩ ᠵᠡᠭᠡᠯᠢ ᠭᠤᠳᠤᠮᠵᠢ Шин цэн зээл гудамж 652801004
Jianshe Subdistrict 建设街道 Jiànshè Jiēdào بەشيۈتلۈك كوچا باشقارمىسى beshyütlük kocha bashqarmisi 652801005
Chaoyang Subdistrict 朝阳街道 Chāoyáng Jiēdào چاۋياڭ كوچا باشقارمىسى chawyang kocha bashqarmisi 652801006
Lixiang Subdistrict 梨香街道 Líxiāng Jiēdào نەشپۇتزار كوچا باشقارمىسى neshputzar kocha bashqarmisi 652801007
Tashidian Town 塔什店镇 Tǎshídiàn Zhèn تاشدەن بازىرى tashden baziri ᠲᠠᠱᠠᠳᠢᠶᠠᠨ ᠪᠠᠯᠭᠠᠰᠤ Ташадиан балгас 652801100
Shanghu Town 上户镇 Shànghù Zhèn شاڭخۇ بازىرى shangxu baziri 652801101
Shinigha Town 西尼尔镇 Xīní'ěr Zhèn شىنىغا بازىرى shinigha baziri 652801102
Tëkichi Township 铁克其乡 Tiěkèqí Xiāng تېكىچى يېزىسى tëkichi yëzisi 652801200
Charibagh Township 恰尔巴格乡 Qiǎ'ěrbāgé Xiāng چارباغ يېزىسى charbagh yëzisi 652801201
Yëngisheher Township 英下乡 Yīngxià Xiāng يېڭىشەھەر يېزىسى yëngisheher yëzisi 652801202
Lengger Township 兰干乡 Lángàn Xiāng لەڭگەر يېزىسى lengger yëzisi 652801203
Qosh'ëriq Township 和什力克乡 Héshílìkè Xiāng قوشئېرىق يېزىسى qosh'ëriq yëzisi 652801204
Qarayulghun Township 哈拉玉宫乡 Hālāyùgōng Xiāng قارايۇلغۇن يېزىسى qarayulghun yëzisi 652801205
Awat Township 阿瓦提乡 Āwǎtí Xiāng ئاۋات يېزىسى Awat yëzisi 652801206
Towurchi Township 托布力其乡 Tuōbùlìqí Xiāng توۋۇرچى يېزىسى towurchi yëzisi 652801207
Puhui Township 普惠乡 Pǔhuì Xiāng پۇخۇي يېزىسى puxuy yëzisi 652801208



In the 2010 Chinese Census, the city had a total population of 549,324 people, a significant increase from the 381,943 recorded in the 2000 Census.[29] The city is home to 23 ethnic groups.[20]

The city had 430,000 inhabitants in 2007, increasing with 20,000 people every year, majority of whom were Han Chinese, with a large minority of Uyghurs (about 100,000) and smaller numbers of Mongols and Huis.[citation needed]

The proportion of nationalities in Korla City, 2018
Nationality Percentage
Source of the population statistics :[30]


Korla has long been the biggest centre in the region after Karashahr/Yanqi itself, having abundant water and extensive farmlands, as well as controlling the main routes to the south and west of Karashahr/Yanqi.[citation needed] Due to the discovery of oil in the Taklamakan Desert, Korla is now both more populous and developed than Karashar/Yanqi.[citation needed] PetroChina's Tarim oil fields operations are headquartered in Korla.[20][31]

The city reported a fiscal revenue of 4.572 billion Yuan in 2019.[20] In the same year, the city's GDP grew 5.6%, fixed asset investment grew 10%, the public budget grew 5%, retail sales grew 8%, and the city's CPI grew 2.3%.[20]

Korla is known for its production of fragrant pears (库尔勒香梨).[32]

A panorama of Korla


Korla is a regional transportation hub, served by the national highways G218, G314, the Southern Xinjiang Railway, Golmud–Korla railway, Hotan–Ruoqiang railway and the Ku'erle Licheng Airport.[32]

Cultural sights

Iron Gate Pass

The city's main attractions include the Iron Gate Pass, Lotus Pond (莲花池), Sun Island (太阳岛), Princess Peak (公主峰), Yuzigan Old City (玉子干旧城), Tuowuqi Ancient City (托务其古城), Airlike Ancient City (爱力克古城), Ku'erchu Mound (库尔楚土墩), Jiamai Mosque (加麦清真寺), and Yeyungou Ruins (野云沟遗址).[32]

See also

Notes and references


  1. ^ Locals in Xinjiang frequently observe UTC+6 (Xinjiang Time), 2 hours behind Beijing.


  1. ^ Cox, W (2018). Demographia World Urban Areas. 14th Annual Edition (PDF). St. Louis: Demographia. p. 22.
  2. ^ Xinjiang: Prefectures, Cities, Districts and Counties
  3. ^ Cox, W (2018). Demographia World Urban Areas. 14th Annual Edition (PDF). St. Louis: Demographia. p. 22.
  4. ^ Area Code and Postal Code in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Archived 2012-07-28 at archive.today (in English)
  5. ^ The official spelling according to 中国地名录. Beijing: SinoMaps Press (中国地图出版社). 1997. ISBN 7-5031-1718-4.
  6. ^ a b Mihray Abdilim, Joshua Lipes (21 September 2020). "Missing Uyghur Confirmed Dead by UN Working Group on Disappearances". Radio Free Asia. Translated by Elise Anderson. Retrieved 23 September 2020. Most recently, Hapiz had been conducting business between Kashgar and Korla (Kuerle)—a county-level city in Bayin'gholin Mongol (Bayinguoleng Menggu) Autonomous Prefecture and the XUAR's second-largest city—several prefectures away.
  7. ^ "EXCAVATIONS iv. In Chinese Turkestan". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 24 September 2020. Large-scale works were undertaken at the site of Šikšin, half-way between the towns of Qara Šahr and Kurla, which occupies a plateau of about 15 hectares.
  8. ^ Kurla (Variant - V) at GEOnet Names Server, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  9. ^ Journal of the Northwest Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 1935. p. 43. Kurla 庫爾勒
  10. ^ a b "Mainland Periscope". Taiwan Today. 1 April 1965.
  12. ^ Karlgren, Bernhard. Grammata Serica, No. 525 a-b. (1940). Reprint (1966): Ch'eng-wen Publishing Company, Taipei.
  13. ^ Hulsewé, A. F. P. and Loewe, M. A. N. 1979. China in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC – AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty, p. 177. E. J. Brill, Leiden.
  14. ^ Hill (2009), p. 45.
  15. ^ Hill (2009), pp. 45; see also: 412-413.
  16. ^ Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilüe (魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE. Draft annotated English translation. [1]
  17. ^ a b Kim, Hodong (2004). Holy War in China: The Muslim Rebellion and State in Chinese Central Asia, 1864–1877. Stanford University Press. pp. 167–169. ISBN 9780804767231.
  18. ^ "Central and North Asia, 1800–1900 A.D." metmuseum.org. 2006. Retrieved December 14, 2006.
  19. ^ Younghusband, Francis E. (1896). The Heart of a Continent, p. 148. John Murray, London. Facsimile reprint: (2005) Elbiron Classics. ISBN 1-4212-6551-6 (pbk); ISBN 1-4212-6550-8 (hardcover).
  20. ^ a b c d e 库尔勒概览 [Korla Overview] (in Chinese). Korla People's Government. 2020-06-10. Archived from the original on 2020-07-16. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  21. ^ Robin, Myriam (2020-02-15). "The think tank behind Australia's changing view of China". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
  22. ^ "'Pretentious', 'hyperbolic' and 'irresponsible': what was behind Nine newspapers' Red Alert series?". 2023-03-16.
  23. ^ Kuo, Lily (2019-09-23). "China footage reveals hundreds of blindfolded and shackled prisoners". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2020-06-08. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  24. ^ Nara Shiruku Rōdo-haku Kinen Kokusai Kōryū Zaidan, Shiruku Rōdo-gaku Kenkyū Sentā: Opening up the Silk Road: the Han and the Eurasian world, Nara International Foundation Commemorating the Silk Road Exposition, 2007
  25. ^ 中国气象数据网 – WeatherBk Data (in Simplified Chinese). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 10 October 2023.
  26. ^ 中国气象数据网 (in Simplified Chinese). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 10 October 2023.
  27. ^ 库尔勒 - 气象数据 -中国天气网 (in Chinese). Weather China. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  28. ^ 2019年统计用区划代码. stats.gov.cn (in Chinese). 2019. Archived from the original on 2020-07-16. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  29. ^ 库尔勒市历史沿革. xzqh.org (in Chinese). 2015-01-30. Archived from the original on 2020-07-16. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  30. ^ 3-7 各地、州、市、县(市)分民族人口数 [3-7 Population by Nationality by Prefecture, State, City and County (City)]. tjj.xinjiang.gov.cn (in Chinese). Statistical Bureau of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. 2020-06-10. Archived from the original on 2020-11-01. Retrieved 2021-06-11.
  31. ^ 公司简介 [Company Profile]. China National Petroleum Corporation (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 2019-07-23. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  32. ^ a b c 库尔勒市概况地图. xzqh.org (in Chinese). 2015-01-30. Archived from the original on 2020-07-16. Retrieved 2020-07-16.


  • Hill, John E. (2009). Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
  • Mallory, J. P. and Mair, Victor H. 2000. The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West. Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Stein, Aurel M. 1921. Serindia: Detailed report of explorations in Central Asia and westernmost China, 5 vols. London & Oxford. Clarendon Press. Reprint: Delhi. Motilal Banarsidass. 1980.[2]
  • Stein Aurel M. 1928. Innermost Asia: Detailed report of explorations in Central Asia, Kan-su and Eastern Iran, 5 vols. Clarendon Press. Reprint: New Delhi. Cosmo Publications. 1981.
  • von Le Coq, Albert. 1928. Buried Treasures of Turkestan. Reprint with Introduction by Peter Hopkirk, Oxford University Press. 1985.