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Xining Facts

Xining Facts

Written by Candice SongUpdated Aug. 31, 2023

Name: Xining (西宁; Xīníng /she-ning/)
Meaning: 'western peace'
Previous names: Silung, Qingtangcheng


  • Capital city of Qinghai Province
  • Doorway to exploring the large, unpopulated province
  • Old Silk Road route city
  • Former Tibetan city with an ethnic mix
  • High altitude city on the Tibetan Plateau

Main Attractions

  • Dongguan Giant Mosque, Qinghai Lake, Bird Island, The Tour of Qinghai Lake (bike race), Kumbum Monastery
  • Most popular souvenirs and local products: Tibetan and ethnic handicrafts, carpets, medicinal herbs, Tibetan knives and ornaments
  • Most popular local food: Tibetan and Hui (Muslim) food such as yogurt, spicy handmade noodles, Liangfen, Niangpi, lamb kebabs, flat bread (bing) and momo.


The city was a gateway to travel between Tibet and the Gansu Corridor Silk Road trade route. The city changed hands many times among empires, and this left a mix of architectural heritage.

  • AD 763 The city was captured by the Tibetan Empire.
  • 1104 The Song Empire captured the city.
  • 1927 An 8.6 earthquake devastated the city.


  • Significance of the city: The city has a long Silk Road history and a history as a center for Tibetan Buddhism and Chinese Islam. Nearby mineral, petroleum, and hydropower resources have made it an industrial city.
  • Nearby cities: Lanzhou (116 km/189 mi), Gannan (208 km/126 mi)
  • Municipality terrain: The city is in a valley on the northeastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau and on the banks of two rivers.
  • Elevation: 2,275 m (7,464 ft)
  • Main river: Huangshui River

Location Information

  • Municipality location: southwestern China
  • Municipality population: (2010) 2,200,000
  • Municipality area: 7,372 sq km (2,846 sq mi)
  • Municipality population density: 299/sq km (766/sq mi)
  • Urban area: 343 sq km (132 sq mi)
  • Urban population: 1,200,000
  • Urban population density:3,493/sq km (9,048/sq mi)
  • North to south distance of urban area: 5 km (3 mi)
  • East to west distance of urban area: 12 km (7.3 mi)
  • City Center: at the intersection of Chiangjiang Road and Xida Street in Chengzhong District (36.62N, 101.78E)


  • Annual average low temperature in January: -13.6 °C (7.5 °F)
  • Annual average high temperature in July: 24.6 °C (76.3 °F)
  • Semi-arid continental, high-altitude climate; annual precipitation: 373 mm (15 in)

The high-altitude may make breathing difficult for some travelers. Summers are cool and pleasant.


  • Average annual income: 28,428 RMB (3,850 USD)
  • Development: developing; the city is mainly an administrative and industrial city though the tourist industry is important.
  • Industry: 45% tertiary industry (services, tourist industry), 51% secondary (metallurgical industries, petrochemicals), 4% primary (mining, agriculture, animal husbandry)
  • CBD: (36.62N, 104.77E)
  • Shopping Streets: Shuijing Xiang Bazaar at the city center.


  • Xining Caojiabao International Airport is 29 km east of the city's downtown.
  • 1 main railway station
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