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Ningxia - Xixia


Situated between the fertile basin of Central China, the deserts of Mongolia, and the vital Hexi Corridor, the region known as Ningxia has its own story, where it rose and fell to great extremes.

In the center of this region lies Yinchuan, now capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, a land granted to the indigenous Hui Muslim population. The Muslim flair is strong, from the smells of kebabs and lamb, to the sights of mosques scattered across the region. But this place wasn't always inhabited by the Hui. Nearly 1000 years ago a Tibetan-Burmese people, called the Tanguts, migrated here to form the Western Xia Kingdom, lasting almost 200 years until its fall by the hands of Genghis Khan in 1227 AD. It’s extent was vast. Stretching from the Hexi Corridor to the Pacific Ocean. Little, however, is known of this kingdom, and it’s Tangut language and script are extinct.

There remains some vestiges left of this kingdom, weathered down to what are now ruins of pyramids. These imperial tombs are striking in their size and shape, standing alone in the desert landscape. They consist of 9 large mausoleums with over 200 smaller tombs - a true city of the dead and harrowing reminder how swift the Mongol hoards destroyed. The cultural landscape has changed significantly here in Yinchuan, and Ningxia in general, and many places along the Silk Road for that matter, but what remains is the strong abode to history, one that is often on the verge of disappearance but will never be forgotten.

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