Clockwise from top: View of Xingqing District from the Pagoda of Chengtian Temple, Drum Tower, Yinchuan railway station, Nanguan Grand Mosque, Western Xia mausoleums, Pagoda of Chengtian Temple, Fenghuang Monument
Clockwise from top: View of Xingqing District from the Pagoda of Chengtian Temple, Drum Tower, Yinchuan railway station, Nanguan Grand Mosque, Western Xia mausoleums, Pagoda of Chengtian Temple, Fenghuang Monument
The territory of Yinchuan prefecture-level city (yellow) within Ningxia
The territory of Yinchuan prefecture-level city (yellow) within Ningxia
Yinchuan is located in Ningxia
Location of the city center in Ningxia
Yinchuan is located in China
Yinchuan (China)
Coordinates (Ningxia People's Government): 38°28′19″N 106°15′32″E / 38.472°N 106.2589°E / 38.472; 106.2589Coordinates: 38°28′19″N 106°15′32″E / 38.472°N 106.2589°E / 38.472; 106.2589
Autonomous regionNingxia
Municipal seatJinfeng District
 • TypePrefecture-level city
 • BodyYinchuan Municipal People's Congress
 • CCP SecretaryZhang Zhu
 • Congress ChairmanLi Hongru
 • MayorZhao Xuhui
 • CPPCC ChairmanMa Kai
 • Prefecture-level city8,874.61 km2 (3,426.51 sq mi)
 • Urban
2,045 km2 (790 sq mi)
 • Metro
2,045 km2 (790 sq mi)
1,100 m (3,608 ft)
 (2020 census)[1]
 • Prefecture-level city2,859,074
 • Density320/km2 (830/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density930/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density930/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (China Standard)
Postal code
Area code0951
ISO 3166 codeCN-NX-01
License plate prefixes宁A
Websitewww.yinchuan.gov.cn (Chinese)
Yinchuan (Chinese characters).svg
"Yínchuān" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese银川
Traditional Chinese銀川
Hanyu PinyinYínchuān
Literal meaning"Silver River"

Yinchuan (UK: /jɪnˈwæn/, US: /-wɑːn/;[2] simplified Chinese: 银川; traditional Chinese: 銀川; pinyin: Yínchuān) is the capital of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China,[3] and was the capital of the Tangut-led Western Xia dynasty. It has an area of 8,874.61 km2 (3,426.51 sq mi) and a total population of 2,859,074 according to the 2020 Chinese census, and its built-up area was home to 1,901,793 inhabitants spread between three urban districts. The city's name literally means "silver river".

Yinchuan is now the permanent site for the China-Arab Expo, a platform for cultural and economic exchanges between China and Arab countries.

The city is also home to Ningxia University, the largest regional comprehensive university under the Project 211 in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.


Map including Yinchuan
Map including Yinchuan

Yinchuan was originally a county under the name of Fuping in the 1st century BCE; its name was changed to Huaiyuan in the 6th century CE.

Western Xia

After the fall of the Tang dynasty in 907, it came under the control of the Tangut-led Western Xia dynasty and was made the capital of the empire, provoking much of the native Han population to emigrate.[4]

Mongol conquest

After conquering Western Xia in 1227, the Mongols mercilessly pillaged Yinchuan and slaughtered its entire population.[5][6] The Mongols called the city Iryai.

Ming and Qing dynasties

Under the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties, it was a prefecture of Ningxia. During the Dungan revolt, Dungan forces massacred 100,000 people in Yinchuan.

20th century

In 1928, when the province of Ningxia was formed from part of Gansu, it became the capital city. In 1954, when Ningxia province was abolished, the city was put in Gansu province; but, with the establishment of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region in 1958, Yinchuan once again became the capital.

Traditionally, Yinchuan was an administrative and commercial center. In the 1950s it had many commercial enterprises, and there were some handicrafts, but no modern industry. The city has since grown considerably. Extensive coal deposits discovered on the eastern bank of the Yellow River, near Shizuishan, 100 km (62 mi) to the north, have made Shizuishan a coal-mining center.

Yinchuan, however, remains largely non-industrial. The immediate plains area, intensively irrigated by a system developed as long ago as the Han (206 BC–AD 220) and Tang (618–907) dynasties, is extremely productive. Yinchuan is the chief agricultural market and distribution center for this area and also deals in animal products from the herds tended by nomads in the surrounding grasslands. It is a market for grain and has flour mills, as well as rice-hulling and oil-extraction plants. The wool produced in the surrounding plains supplies a woolen-textile mill.


Satellite image of Yinchuan in 2005
Satellite image of Yinchuan in 2005

Yinchuan lies in the middle of the Yinchuan or Ningxia Plain. It is sheltered from the deserts of Mongolia by the high ranges of the Helan Mountains to its west. The Yellow River runs through Yinchuan from southwest to northeast. The average elevation of Yinchuan is 1,100 meters (about 3,608 feet). The urban center of Yinchuan lies about halfway between the Yellow River and the edge of Helan Mountains.


Yinchuan has a cold desert climate (Köppen BWk) with an annual rainfall of 186 mm (7.32 in). Yinchuan has distinct seasons, with dry, cold winters, late springs and short summers. The monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from −7.3 °C (18.9 °F) in January to 23.9 °C (75.0 °F) in July, with the annual mean at 9.5 °C (49.1 °F). Diurnal temperature variation tends to be large due to the aridity, which also partly contributes to the sunny climate; with monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 63 percent in three months to 71 percent in November, the city receives 2,906 hours of bright sunshine annually. There are 158 frost-free days.

Climate data for Yinchuan (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1951–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.7
Average high °C (°F) −0.5
Daily mean °C (°F) −7.3
Average low °C (°F) −12.8
Record low °C (°F) −30.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 1.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 1.2 1.4 2.3 2.6 4.1 5.6 7.9 8.7 5.7 3.4 1.4 0.8 45.1
Average relative humidity (%) 55 49 45 40 46 53 61 66 66 60 62 60 55
Mean monthly sunshine hours 205.7 201.1 232.6 255.5 287.1 285.3 281.8 267.2 240.2 231.9 214.3 203.1 2,905.8
Percent possible sunshine 68 67 63 65 65 64 63 63 65 67 71 69 66
Source: China Meteorological Administration (precipitation days and sunshine 1971–2000)[7][8]

Administrative divisions

Name Simplified Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Xiao'erjing Population
Area (km2) Density (/km2)
City proper
Xingqing District 兴庆区 Xīngqìng Qū ثٍْ‌ٿٍْ ٿِيُوِ 755,441 768 984
Jinfeng District 金凤区 Jīnfèng Qū ڭٍ‌فٍْ ٿِيُوِ 369,296 290 1,273
Xixia District 西夏区 Xīxià Qū ثِ‌ثِيَا ٿِيُوِ 362,842 987 368
Satellite cities
Lingwu City 灵武市 Língwǔ Shì لِئٍ‌وُ شِ 296,122 4,639 64
Yongning County 永宁县 Yǒngníng Xiàn يٌ‌نِئٍ ثِيًا 245,570 1,295 190
Helan County 贺兰县 Hèlán Xiàn حَ‌لًا ثِيًا 263,832 1,600 165


Ethnic groups

As of 2019, 72.43% of the city's population is Han Chinese, 25.79% is Hui, and 1.78% are other ethnic minorities.[9] Of the city's six county-level divisions, all have a super-majority of Han Chinese people sans the county-level city of Lingwu, which is majority Hui.[9]


Of the city's population, 79.05% live in urban areas as of 2019.[9] This proportion is highest in Xixia District, where 91.28% of the population lives in urban areas, and is lowest in Lingwu, where 58.22% of the population lives in urban areas.[9]


The city's gross domestic product per capita was ¥31,436 (US$4,526) in 2008, ranking 197th of 659 Chinese cities. In 2010, Yinchuan was designated as the site for the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. At the national level, Yinchuan hosts various events such as the China-Arab States Expo, to function as a commercial link between China and Arab States.

Yinchuan classifies itself as a 'smart city', where modern technology is employed such as facial recognition for public transport payments, connected trash bins and digital citizen service centres.[10][11][12][13]


Yinchuan railway station


Although most residents are Han Chinese, Yinchuan is a center for the Muslim Hui people, who constitute slightly over a quarter of the population.[9]


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A mosque in Yinchuan.
A mosque in Yinchuan.
Yinchuan Drum Tower
Yinchuan Drum Tower

The city's attractions include the Sand-lake, the Western Xia tombs, and the China Western film Studios.

Sand Lake is a lake in a desert 35 miles north of Yinchuan with birds, reeds, lotus and fish.

The Western Xia Imperial Tombs are 15.5 miles west of Yinchuan on east side of Mt. Helan. Since June 1972, nine imperial tombs and 253 lesser tombs have been unearthed, which are as grand as Ming Tombs in Beijing. With a total area of more than 19.3 square miles, it is unique among royal burials.

China West Film Studio, which has been famed as 'One Superb in China, and Treasure of Ningxia Province', is at the eastern foot of the magnificent Helanshan Mountain, 25 kilometers from the railway station of Yinchuan City, and 48 kilometers from Hedong Airport. It produced The Herdsman, Red Sorghum, Lover's Grief over the Yellow River, New Dragon Gate Inn, Ashes of Time, A Chinese Odyssey, Qiao's Grand Courtyard (TV series) and nearly one hundred other films.

There are two pagodas in Yinchuan that are part of the 'Eight Famous Scenery of Ningxia': one is the Haibao Pagoda in the northern suburb and the other is the Chengtiansi Pagoda in the west.

Parts of the Great Wall are near the city.

Since 2000, Yinchuan has hosted the annual Yinchuan International Car and Motorcycle Tourism Festival, which usually occurs in August.

Colleges and universities

See also


  1. ^ "China: Níngxià (Prefectures, Cities, Districts and Counties) - Population Statistics, Charts and Map".
  2. ^ "Yinchuan". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 19 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Illuminating China's Provinces, Municipalities and Autonomous Regions". PRC Central Government Official Website. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  4. ^ Jack Weatherford Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, p.85
  5. ^ Mote, Frederick W. (1999). Imperial China: 900-1800. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 256. ISBN 0674012127.
  6. ^ Boland-Crewe, Tara; Lea, David, eds. (2002). The Territories of the People's Republic of China. London: Europa Publications. p. 215. ISBN 9780203403112.
  7. ^ 中国气象数据网 - WeatherBk Data (in Chinese (China)). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  8. ^ 中国地面国际交换站气候标准值月值数据集(1971-2000年). China Meteorological Administration. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  9. ^ a b c d e f 2019年末银川市常住人口229.31万人 (in Chinese). Yinchuan City Statistics Bureau. 27 February 2020. Archived from the original on 18 August 2020. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  10. ^ Dahad, Nitin (9 October 2016). "Yinchuan: China's leading smart city shows how government and technology can help improve the life of its citizens".
  11. ^ "ZTE Partners with TM Forum and City of Yinchuan on Smart City Innovation Center".
  12. ^ Guerrini, Federico. "Cities Cannot Be Reduced To Just Big Data And IoT: Smart City Lessons From Yinchuan, China". Forbes.
  13. ^ Carrington, Daisy (11 October 2016). "In Yinchuan, China, your face is your credit card". CNN.