Burqin: A Place to Enjoy Landscapes, Folk Customs

September 12, 2018  By Wei Xuanyi  Editor: Zhang Shanshan
Burqin: A Place to Enjoy Landscapes, Folk Customs


Burqin, a county in Altay, a city in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has a history of nearly 2,000 years. Burqin is located in the northern area of the autonomous region, where China borders Russia, Kazakhstan and the State of Mongolia. Burqin has rich cultural relics and breathtaking natural scenery. Xinjiang Kanas National Geopark is a must-see site for travelers.

Burqin is situated at the foot of the Altai Mountains (a well-known mountain range in Central Asia). Junggar Basin (the second-largest inland basin in China) is to the south of the county. Irtysh River, the only river in China that flows into the Arctic Ocean, flows through the county.

In the Mongolian language, Burqin means a place where camels are grazed. Burqin has high mountains, fertile grassland and rich water resources. In ancient times, nomadic people inhabited and grazed their livestock in Burqin.

Burqin became famous, both at home and abroad, in the 1990s because of Kanas Lake. Kanas, in the Mongolian language, means a beautiful and mysterious lake. Kanas is an alpine lake that is situated on the Altai Mountains. The lake is more than 180 meters deep, and it is the deepest glacial-drift barrier lake in China. Kanas Lake is the highlight of Xinjiang Kanas National Geopark, which is a beautiful natural ecosystem composed of lakes, rivers, marshes, springs, glaciers, forests and grassland. The geopark might be one of the most alluring tourist resorts in northern Xinjiang. 

Kanas Lake is well-known for its color-changing spectacle. The water is frozen from November to April, and the lake's color changes in other months. The water is grey in May, after the ice has melted. The water is light green or dark blue in June, when the plants on the mountains are green. The water is as white as milk in July, as the white water from the White Lake flows into the lake. The water is blackish green in August, as it often rains in summer. The water is emerald green in September and October.
There are six bays along the lake. The sixth bay, which is at the northernmost end of the lake, is widely considered to be a wonder of the lake. A 2,000-meter-long, 100-meter-wide bank of dead trees is near the bay. The dead trees do not float downriver. It is said that if the trees are thrown into the fifth bay, which is located downstream, the trees will float upstream, back to the sixth bay.

Travelers can enjoy the lake's fascinating scenery by boat. The Fish Watching Pavilion, located on a hill, is the best place for visitors to look down on the area's splendid scenery. Virgin forests and the vast grassland, combined with clear water, make the area a paradise. Travelers commonly refer to it as a "fairyland on earth."

Wucaitan (Rainbow Beach), a scenic spot in Burqin, is located on the north bank of Irtysh River. The scenic spot is known for its Yardang landform, a typical wind-erosion landscape. In the Uygur language, Yardang means small hills with a steep cliff. The sandstone has been shaped into hills and steep rocks, the result of wind and flowing water over millions of years. Under the sunlight, the landform looks like a sea with colorful — red, yellow, green and purple — waves. Rainbow Beach is a valuable treasure created by nature. It is a place that will amaze travelers with its uncanny workmanship by nature.

Hemu, a village situated on the south bank of Kanas Lake, is one of the three villages in China inhabited by Tuvan people. They live in frame houses frame houses, half of which are buried so they can resist the cold of winter, which lasts for nearly six months per year. Nearly all the people are Buddhist, and they have preserved their traditional religious activities, including offering sacrifices to heaven, the lake, the mountains and fire.


Burqin: A Place to Enjoy Landscapes, Folk Customs
Burqin: A Place to Enjoy Landscapes, Folk Customs
Burqin: A Place to Enjoy Landscapes, Folk Customs


(Source: Women of China English Monthly May 2018 issue)

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