Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture

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Ili Prefecture

ىله وبلىسى‎
ئىلى ئوبلاستى
Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture
ىله قازاق اۆتونومىيالى وبلىسى‎
ئىلى قازاق ئاپتونوم ئوبلاستى
Gulja seat of Ili
Gulja seat of Ili
Ili Prefecture (red) in Xinjiang (orange)
Ili Prefecture (red) in Xinjiang (orange)
CountryPeople's Republic of China
Prefecture seatYining (Gulja)
 • Land56,381.52 km2 (21,769.03 sq mi)
 • inc. Altay & Tacheng268,778.71 km2 (103,776.04 sq mi)
 • Total3,009,100
 • inc. Altay & Tacheng
Time zoneUTC+8 (China Standard)
ISO 3166 codeCN-XJ-40
GDP (2014)CNY 164.0 billion
US$25.2 billion (including Altay & Tacheng)
 - per capitaCNY 34,119
US$5,249 (including Altay & Tacheng)
Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese伊犁哈萨克自治州
Traditional Chinese伊犁哈薩克自治州
Dunganese name
DunganЙили Хасакə Зыҗыҗу
RomanizationJili Xasakə Zьⱬьⱬu
Uyghur name
Uyghurئىلى قازاق ئاپتونوم ئوبلاستى
Kazakh name
Kazakhىله قازاق اۆتونومىيالى وبلىسى

Іле Қазақ аутономиялық облысы

Ile Qazaq aýtonomııalyq oblysy

Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture or Ili in northernmost Xinjiang, is the only Kazakh autonomous prefecture in China.

Geography and coordinates[edit]

The Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture is west of Mongolia, south of Russia and east of Kazakhstan. Its foreign boundary is 2,000 km (1,200 mi), generally located between Altai Mountains and the main range of Tian Shan, occupying most of the Dzungarian Basin in northern Xinjiang and the Ili River Basin.

The prefecture-level city of Karamay is completely surrounded and divided by the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture but is not part of it.

The upper course of the Ili River and that of Irtysh River flow through the prefecture.

Administrative divisions[edit]

As a Sub-provincial Autonomous Prefecture, Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture is administratively divided into three parts -- Altay Prefecture and Tacheng Prefectures, together with a directly administrated county-level prefecture that includes Yining City, 2 other county-level cities, 7 counties, and 1 autonomous county (see Administrative divisions of the People's Republic of China#Levels). The directly administrated region is exactly coterminous with the historical area that in the past was often called by Russians and Westerners as Kulja or Kuldja.[1]

Ili Kazahk mcp.png

     Ili Prefecture under its direct administration
     Tacheng Prefecture
     Altay Prefecture

Part Division
Name Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Uyghur (UEY) Uyghur Latin (ULY) Kazakh
(Arabic script)
Kazakh Latin alphabet Population
(2010 Census)
Area (km²) Density (/km²)
Ili Prefecture
(direct administration)
654002 Yining[2] 伊宁市 Yīníng Shì غۇلجا شەھىرى Ghulja Shehiri قۇلجا قالاسى Qulja qalasy 515,082 629 818.89
654003 Kuytun[2] 奎屯市 Kuítún Shì كۈيتۇن شەھىرى Küytun Shehiri كۇيتۇن قالاسى Kýıtyn qalasy 166,261 1,171 141.98
654004 Korgas[2] 霍尔果斯市 Huò'ěrguǒsī Shì قورغاس شەھىرى Qorghas Shehiri قالاسى قورعاس Qorǵas qalasy 85,000(?) 1,900 44.73
654021 Yining County[2] 伊宁县 Yīníng Xiàn غۇلجا ناھىيىسى Ghulja Nahiyisi قۇلجا اۋدانى Qulja aýdany 372,590 4,486 83.05
654020 Qapqal Xibe Autonomous County 察布查尔锡伯自治县 Chábùchá'ěr Xībó Zìzhìxiàn چاپچال شىبە ئاپتونوم ناھىيىسى Chapchal Shibe Aptonom Nahiyisi شاپشال سىبە اۆتونوميالى اۋدانى Shapshal Sybe avtonomıalyq aýdany 179,744 4,489 40.04
654023 Huocheng County[2] 霍城县 Huòchéng Xiàn قورغاس ناھىيىسى Qorghas Nahiyisi قورعاس اۋدانى Qorǵas aýdany 352,689 5,466 64.52
654024 Gongliu County[2] 巩留县 Gǒngliú Xiàn توققۇزتارا ناھىيىسى Toqquztara Nahiyisi توعىزتاراۋ اۋدانى Toǵyztaraý aýdany 164,860 4,124 39.97
654025 Xinyuan County[2] 新源县 Xīnyuán Xiàn كۈنەس ناھىيىسى Künes Nahiyisi كۇنەس اۋدانى Kúnes aýdany 282,718 7,583 37.28
654026 Zhaosu County[2] 昭苏县 Zhāosū Xiàn موڭغۇلكۈرە ناھىيىسى Mongghulküre Nahiyisi موڭعۇلكۇرە اۋدانى Mońǵulkúre aýdany 148,187 10,465 14.16
654027 Tekes County 特克斯县 Tèkèsī Xiàn تېكەس ناھىيىسى Tëkes Nahiyisi تەكەس اۋدانى Tekes aýdany 142,713 8,080 17.66
654028 Nilka County 尼勒克县 Nílèkè Xiàn نىلقا ناھىيىسى Nilqa Nahiyisi نىلقى اۋدانى Nylqy aýdany 157,743 10,130 15.57
Altay Prefecture 阿勒泰地区 Ālètài Dìqū ئالتاي ۋىلايىتى Altay Wilayiti التاي ايماعى Altaı aımaǵy 603,283 117,800 5.12
Tacheng Prefecture[2] 塔城地区 Tǎchéng Dìqū تارباغاتاي ۋىلايىتى Tarbaghatay Wilayiti تارباعاتاي ايماعى Tarbaǵataı aımaǵy 1,219,369 104,546 11.66
Scene from Ili valley


The map of the Ili region, c. 1809. It's "upside down", i.e. the south is on top, and the west, on the right. The nine fortified towns are shown as double squares

Early history[edit]

Gold Mask Inlaid with Rubies. 3 - 7th Century. Excavated at Boma Tomb in Zhaosu County, collected by the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture Museum.

Before the advent of the Qin dynasty (221 BC – 206 BC), Ili was occupied by the Ussuns, a tributary tribe of the Huns. The Ussuns were driven away in the 6th century AD by the northern Xiongnu, who established the Turkic Khaganate in 552. Later this Khulja territory became a dependency of Dzungaria. During the Tang dynasty (618–907), the khanate became the Protectorate General to Pacify the West of the Tang Empire.

The Uyghur Khaganate, and in the 12th century the Kara-Khitai, took possession of the area in turn. Genghis Khan conquered Kulja in the 13th century, and the Mongol Khans resided in the valley of the Ili. It is supposed that the Oirats conquered it at the end of the 16th or the beginning of the 17th century.[citation needed]

Qing dynasty[edit]

The Oirats, or more precisely Dzungars, controlled both Dzungaria and the Ili Basin until 1755 as the Dzungar Khanate, when it was annexed by the Manchu-run Qing dynasty under the Qianlong Emperor. Having defeated the Dzungars in the Dzungarian and Ili Basins, as well as the Afaqi Khojas in Kashgaria, the Qing court decided to make the Ili basin the main base of their control in Xinjiang.

In the 1760s, the Qing built nine fortified towns (九城) in the Ili Basin:

Original Chinese name Chinese Turki (Uyghur) name[3] Modern name of the location[4] Notes
Huiyuan Cheng 惠远城 Kürä Shahr Huiyuan Town (惠远镇) in Huocheng County The Old Huiyuan was the residence of the General of Ili from 1765 to 1866. The New Huiyuan was the residence of the General of Ili from 1894 to 1912. Also known as New Kulja, Manchu Kulja, or Ili at the time.
Ningyuan Cheng 宁远城 Kulja (Ghulja) Yining City Also was known as Old Kulja or Taranchi Kulja. County seat of Ningyuan County (1888–1914) and Yining County (1914–1952)
Huining Cheng 惠宁城 Bayandai Bayandai Town (巴彦岱镇) within Yining City, some 10[5] to 18[6] km to the west of the Yining center city
Taleqi Cheng 塔勒奇城 Tarchi Within Huocheng County
Zhande Cheng 瞻德城 Chaghan Usu Qingshuihe Town (清水河镇) in Huocheng County
Guangren Cheng 广仁城 Ukurborosuk Lucaogou Town (芦草沟镇) in Huocheng County, NE of Qingshuihe
Gongchen Cheng 拱宸城 Khorgos Khorgas City (霍尔果斯市)
Xichun Cheng 熙春城 Khara Bulaq Area commonly referred to as Chengpanzi (城盘子) in the Hanbin Township (汉宾乡) within Yining City, a few km west of the city center
Suiding Cheng 绥定城 Ukharliq Shuiding Town (水定镇), county seat of Huocheng County since 1966 General of Ili's residence 1762–1765 and 1883–1894, when it became known as New/Manchu/Chinese Kulja. County seat of Suiding County (1888–1965) and Shuiding County (1965–1966). Renamed Shuiding in 1965.

Huiyuan Cheng, as the seat of the General of Ili, the chief commander of the Qing troops in Xinjiang, became the administrative capital of the region. It was provided with a large penal establishment and a strong garrison. This city was called New Kulja, Manhcu Kulja, Chinese Kulja, or Ili by the Russians and Westerners, to distinguish it from Nigyuan/Yining, known as Old Kulja or Taranchi Kulja.

The first General of Ili was Ming Rui. The Qing tradition, unbroken until the days of Zuo Zongtang in the 1870s, was to only appoint Manchus as officials in Xinjiang.

Tacheng (Chuguchak) was among the towns that suffered grievously during the fighting in 1865

During the insurrection of 1864 the Dungans and Taranchis of the area formed the Taranchi Sultanate. Huiyuan (Manchu Kulja) was the last Qing fortress in the Ili Valley to fall to the rebels. The insurgent Dungans massacred most of Manchu Kulja's inhabitants; Governor General Mingsioi (Ming Xü) assembled his family and staff in his mansion, and blew it up, dying under its ruins.

The sultanate led to the occupation of the Ili basin (Kulja in contemporary Western terms) by the Russians in 1871. Ten years later the territory was restored to China, and its boundary with Russia was assigned in accordance to the Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1881).

After Chinese authority was restored, a new Huiyuan Town was built, some 4 km (2.5 mi) north of the old Huiyuan site.

On January 7, 1912, Yang Cuanxu [zh] of Ili occupied Huiyuan Town and shot the last Qing General of Ili, Zhi Rui [zh].

The Republic of China[edit]

In July 1945, Chingil, Bole and Quanxi (精河、博乐、温泉) of Ili were made into a new autonomous prefecture now not part of Ili: Bortala.

The People's Republic of China[edit]

As the only sub-province-level division in China, Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture was established on November 29, 1954, 3 prefectures (专区) of Ili (伊利), Tacheng (塔城) and Altay (阿勒泰) were under its jurisdiction.


Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture is a famous tourist destination for its relatively humid climate, which earned its reputation as 'wetland in Central Asia'. Major tourist attractions include Narati Grassland, Guozigou and Kanas Lake. In 2015 alone, Ili has seen over 25 million travellers and earned over 19 billion CNY (US$2.92 billion) tourism receipts.[7]


Road and Railway[edit]

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.

Border crossings[edit]

Ili Kazak's 8 functioning ports of entry are:


First Secretary[edit]

  1. Zhao Tianjie (赵天杰)


  1. Pätiqan Sügirbayev (Chinese: zh:帕提汗·苏古尔巴也夫, Kazakh: Фатхан (Пәтіхан) Дәлелханұлы Сүгірбаев), November 1954 – June 1955
  2. Jağda Babalıqulı (Kazakh: kk:Жағда Бабалықұлы), June 1955 – February 1957 Acting Act, from May 1958
  3. Qurmanäli Ospanulı (Kazakh: kk:Құрманәлі Оспанұлы), June 1958 – September 1963
  4. Erğalï Äbilqaýırulı (Kazakh: Ерғали Әбілқайырұлы), September 1963 – May 1969
  5. Zhong Liangshu (Chinese: 钟良树,[8] Kazakh: Чұң Лияң Шо), May 1969 – May 1970 (military government)
  6. Wang Zhenzhong (Chinese: 王振中,[8] Kazakh: Уаң Жын Жұң), May 1970 – July 1975 (military government)
  7. Xie Gaozhong (Chinese: 谢高忠,[8] Kazakh: Шие Гау Жұң), July 1975 – September 1975 (military government)
  8. Jänäbil Smağululı (Kazakh: Жанәбіл Смағұлұлы), September 1975 – February 1978
  9. Qasımbek Seýitjanulı (Kazakh: Қасымбек Сейітжанұлы), March 1979 – April 1983
  10. Dïyar Qurmaşulı (Kazakh: Дияр Құрмашұлы), April 1983 – May 1988
  11. Ashat Kerimbay (Kazakh: Асхат Керімбайұлы), May 1988 – May 1993
  12. Bekmuxamet Musaulı (Chinese: zh:别克木哈买提·木沙 , Kazakh: Бекмұхамет Мұсаұлы), April 1993 – March 1998
  13. Alpısbaý Raxımulı (Chinese: zh:阿勒布斯拜·拉合木 , Kazakh: Алпысбай Рахымұлы), March 1998 – June 2001
  14. Nurlan Äbilmäjinulı (Chinese: zh:努尔兰·阿不都满金 , Kazakh: Нұрлан Әбілмәжінұлы), March 2002 – January 2003
  15. Qızaýjan Seýilqojaulı (Chinese: zh:柯赛江·赛力禾加, Kazakh: Қызайжан Сейілқожаұлы), March 2003 – November 2007
  16. Mäwken Seýitqamzaulı (Kazakh: Мәукен Сейітқамзаұлы), November 2007 – January 2012
  17. Mänen Zeýnelulı (Chinese: zh:马宁·再尼勒, Kazakh: Мәнен Зейнелұлы), February 2012 – January 2016
  18. Qurmaş Sırjanulı (Chinese: zh:库尔玛什·斯尔江, Kazakh: Құрмаш Сыржанұлы), from February 2016[9][10][11]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i The official spelling according to Zhōngguó dìmínglù 中国地名录 (Beijing, SinoMaps Press 中国地图出版社 1997); ISBN 7-5031-1718-4
  3. ^ As per Kim (2004), pp. 54, 229
  4. ^ Info from Chinese Wikipedia and "History". Yining County Historical Development. Archived from the original on 2007-01-06.
  5. ^ Direct distance from modern maps
  6. ^ Road distance from Lansdell (1885), p. 190
  7. ^ "National Data". Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  8. ^ a b c 伊犁哈萨克自治州地方志编纂委员会 (June 2004). 伊犁哈萨克自治州志 (in Chinese). Urumuqi: Xinjiang People's Publishing House. p. 282. ISBN 7-228-08827-1. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  10. ^ ("Ауыт Мұқибек. О, менің Іле Қазақ облысым!". Абай ақпарат порталы.)
  11. ^ (Дауылбек, ed. (2017-02-05). "Қытайдағы қазақ облсы басшыларының қысқаша өмір баяны, іле қазақ Автономиялы облысы құрылғаннан бергі облыс бастықтарының қысқаша өмір баяны" (in Kazakh). Жүңгө қазақ радио торабы.)


  • Henry Lansdell, "Russian Central Asia: Including Kuldja, Bokhara, Khiva and Merv". Full text available at Google Books; there is also a 2001 facsimile reprint of the 1885 edition, ISBN 1-4021-7762-3. (Chapters XIV-XVI describe Lansdell visit to the area in the early 1880s, soon after the Russian withdrawal). ‹See Tfd›(in English)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°26′59″N 84°59′09″E / 44.44972°N 84.98583°E / 44.44972; 84.98583