City overview
Overview
Lanzhou is situated on the upper course of the Yellow River, where the river emerges from the mountains. It has been a center since early times, being at the southern end of the route leading via the Hexi Corridor across Central Asia. It also commands the approaches to the ancient capital area of Chang'an (modern Xi'an) in Shaanxi province from both the west and the northwest, as well as from the area of Qinghai Lake via the upper waters of the Yellow River and its tributaries. With a population of 2.91 million people including an urban population of 1.6 million, there are 38 nationalities dwelling in Lanzhou, including those of Han, Hui (Muslims), Tibetan, Uygur, Dongxiang, Mongolian, Bonan, Kazak, Tu, Salar and Manchurian minorities.
 
History
The city was named Jincheng, meaning “strong fort” at the time of the Western Han Dynasty. It gradually became an important commercial center during the period from the Han Dynasty to the Tang and Song Dynasties during the zenith of the Silk Road. Later, the city played a dominant role in the promotion of economic and cultural exchanges between China and western countries.
 
During the Sino-Japanese war, Lanzhou was used as the distribution center for ammunition and supplies shipped into China from the Soviet Union. It was severely punished by Japanese bombing because of it. The discovery of oil in the nearby desert gave Lanzhou a major role in China's petrochemical industry after the People's Republic of China was founded.
 
Climate
Lanzhou has a semi-arid climate, characterized by dryness and abundant sunlight. The annual average temperature is about 9.3 degrees C. Winter here is long and cold, but not freezing, with relatively little snow and rain. Spring is transient with sharp temperature swings. Summer is short and hot, but not sweltering. Autumn temperatures drop rapidly from their peak in July. The best time to go is from April through November. The annual precipitation is 30-800 millimeters (mainly falling in May through September), and sandstorms come in April and May.
 
Transportation
Today, airlines from Zhongchuan airport in Lanzhou cover 30 domestic cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Xian, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Dunhuang, Jiayuguang and so on. There is a charter flight for Hongkong every Tuesday.
 
Lanzhou railway station is at the foot of Gaolan Moutain in the southern prat of town. There are altogether 60 daily rails passing Lanzhou to other cities. Express trains are available from Lanzhou to the tourist cities such as Zhangye, Jiayuguan and Pingliang within the province.
 
There are seven long-distance bus stations in town and four state-level and five province-level expressways passing the city. However, as Lanzhou is located in the east of Gansu Province, far from the tourist cities in the Hexi Corridor, railroad is often more preferable to motorway. For the south of Gansu Province where no train is available, bus is the only option.
 
Economy
There are seven long-distance bus stations in town and four state-level and five province-level expressways passing the city. However, as Lanzhou is located in the east of Gansu Province, far from the tourist cities in the Hexi Corridor, railroad is often more preferable to motorway. For the south of Gansu Province where no train is available, bus is the only option.
 
Main industries include textile mills, rubber, fertilizer plants, oil refinery, petrochemical, machinery, and metallurgical industry. Lanzhou has a large textile industry, particularly noted for the production of woolens and leather goods. In addition, Lanzhou produces locomotives and rolling stock for the northwestern railways, as well as machine tools and mining equipment. Aluminum products, industrial chemicals, and fertilizers are produced on a large scale, and there is a large rubber industry. Copper is mined in nearby Gaolan.
 
Lanzhou is the collecting center and market for agricultural produce and livestock from a wide area.
2012 China University Ranking
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