Whether you call it "Yili", "Ili", "Yining" or even the historical name "Ghulja", one thing is for sure: it's definitely worth traveling to this unique part of Xinjiang, China. In fact, if you're planning to head out this way, I'd like to provide some suggestions on 5 places you should put on your itinerary while you're here.
Reputed as"The Oriental Provence", Huocheng locates at the Yili Valley on northern slope of Mt. Tianshan in Xinjiang Province as well as the same latitude zoon with French Provence. It is considered as one of the 3 main planting areas for lavender in the world. It takes about 1 driving hour from Yining city to Huocheng. The typical climate of Yili Valley provides the ideal geographical location for lavender planting with large scale. At present, Huocheng county has became the major place for lavender planting with a proportion of 97% of the national output in China. The lavender cultivated in Huocheng is listed among the top 8 categories of lavender in the world.
Yili borders with three countries and three prefectures. It borders with Russia and Mongolia on the northeast, Republic of Kazakhstan on its northwest. Changji Hui Autonmous Prefecture and Bayingolin Autonomous Prefecture on its southeast, and Aksu Prefecture on its southwest.
Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture is a prefecture at sub- provincial level. Ili, Tacheng, and Altay are the under special jurisdiction of Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture. Two districts are Altay and Tacheng, two cities are Yili and Kuntun cities, and seven countires are Yili county, Huocheng county, Gongliu County, Xinyuan County, Zhaosu County, Tekes County, Nilka County, and one autonomous county is Qapqal Xibe Autnomous County.
Yili is the capital city of Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture. It is the administrative, economic, and cultural center of Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture.
Road and Railway
An extensive road network is being built across the prefecture for economic development. In 2015, 66 million passengers travelled on road.
The railway has extended to both the very north part of Altay City and the westmost city of Khorgas on the China-Kazakhstan border.
Yili is famous for both its natural and historical sites, among which, Narat Grassland, Sayram Lake, Ili River, Butterflies Valley, Beytulla Mosque, and tughluq Temur Khan tomb are considered important historical sites in the area.
Yili Autonomous Prefecture belongs to continental climate zone. Weather featured as a mild and humid with short summer and long winter. There is a weather difference between the areas. There is a huge difference between the weather during the day and night.
The annual average temperature is 10.4 ℃ , highest temperature reaches as high as 42.8 ℃ and lowest temperature reaches to as low as -51.0 ℃ with annual rainfall of 417.6 mm, with average sunshine hours of 2898.4 hours.