Located on the northeastern part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Xining is the provincial capital of Qinghai. Xining is 2,260 meters above sea level but climate there is much better than that of Tibet. Enjoying a good location surrounded by high mountains, the city has a relatively comfortable climate with neither bone-chilling winter nor sweltering summer and the annually temperature there is about 6 centigrade. Summer in Xining is an ideal season for tourists who can enjoy fresh and crisp weather. It is a typical example of a plateau city. This inland, far northwestern provinince is called the “ocean of hua'er” (a type of folk song) in recognition of its cultural wealth. Named after the large salt lake within its borders, Qinghai (literally, “blue ocean”) is China's fourth-largest province.
Xining was once an important stop on the century-old Silk Road. In and around Xining, visitors can find the Ta’er Monastery (Kumbum), one of the two most important Tibetan monasteries outside Tibet, Dongguan Great Mosque. Xining also provides access to some natural attractions with superlative beauty including the Qinghai Lake, the largest inland salt-water lake in China, the Bird Island on the west shore of the Qinghai Lake.
The recently finished Qinghai-Tibet railway marks a new era for Xining’s significant role in tourism. Xining’s similarity with Tibet in weather allows Xining an “adapted stop” for visitors who will then gradually adapt themselves to the harsh weather condition in Tibet.
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