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Home Travel in Xinjiang The Wind City
The Wind City
Travel in Xinjiang

The Wind City
Northwest of the Junggar Basin (zhǔn gá ěr pén dì 准噶尔盆地) is the Wuerhe (wū ěr hé 乌尔禾)(also "Urho") region, where there is a unique wind-eroded geological feature  commonly referred to as "wind city" because of the frequently howling winds. Due to its eeriness, it is also commonly referred to as "Ghost City". At night, strong wind blowing, sand flying and stones rolling, make frightful and dreaded sounds.


The Wind City, neighboring the Halahlat Mountain, is located in the Urho area, over 100 km northeast of Karamay City (kè lā mǎ yī 克拉玛依) and covers an area of about 30 square kilometers. The native Mongolian people call it “Sulumuhak”, while the local Kazakh people name it “Shytirkrsi”, and both the two names have the same meaning ----Ghost Castle. When a howling wind suddenly arises, it whips up sand, rolls stones around, and darkens the sky and the earth, casing people in ancient times to believe that demons haunted the Wind City.

The Wind CityPlaced in graceful disorder by a mysterious force, the “city” is embellished with stimulating colors----red, grayish-green and grayish-blue. The desolate formation has a multitude of shapes, large and small, high and low, beautiful and ugly. Some look like medieval European castles; some are like lofty pagodas; some are like clouds of dense smoke; others are like crawling tortoises or snakes. There are thousands of gorges and crisscross gullies winding through the Wind City. In the bright sunshine, the Wind City is a dazzling and impressive sight. At nights, strong wind blows sands flying about and stones rolling, thus making frightful and dreaded sounds, which make you feel scared. On rainy days, it is covered with mist, suggestive of fear and danger. In winter, it looks unusually peaceful in its blanket of snow, like a sleeping child. Beautiful pebbles that can be used as ornaments can be found everywhere in the Ghost City, what’s more, you can even find the crystal carnelian if you are fortunate

In northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (xīn jiāng wū lǔ mù qí zì zhì qū 新疆乌鲁木齐自治区) many abandoned cities can be found, including Loulan Old City (lóu lán gǔ chéng 楼兰古城). However, unlike them, the Wind City of Urho is without any trace of a human presence.

The Wind City is lovely and terrible, miraculous and weird, imbued with a sense of loneliness and wildness, making a striking contrast to bustling modern cities. Generally speaking, beauty is harmonious. But the Wind City is in graceful disorder. And whereas beauty is usually refined and elegant, the Wind City is rough and natural.
The Wind CityThe ghost city, its full name is “Nuomin Ghost City”(nuò mǐn mó guǐ chéng 诺敏魔鬼城) or “Nuomin Wind City”(nuò mǐn fēng chéng 诺敏风城), lies in the southwest of Dinosaur Valley, with land area of 84 square meters. It is also a kind of “Yadan”(yǎ dān 雅丹) topography formed by various sediment of Trias, Jurassic, and cretaceous. The Nature carved it by wind and rain through history and shaped it into various special sculpts such as human, evil, beast, platform, pavilions, terraces, towers, ancient castle, den of monster, stone bridge, and beacon tower and so on. Whenever the gale blows, the ghost city will make various horrent voices like a large number of mounted and foot soldiers, or ghosts’ weep, wolves’ howl, or screaming and sneering. So it is called “Ghost City”.

Getting There and away

At least 4 direct buses from Urumqi (wū lǔ mù qí 乌鲁木齐) to Karamay everyday, departing from 10am till 8pm. The journey takes about 10 hours. Special Toursit buses run between Karamay City and Urho Ghost Castle at reasonale frequency daily.

The Urumqi-Habahe (hā bā hé 哈巴河) Bus also passes through Wuerhe between 11am-12am every day, but the ideal route is Urumqi-Bu'erjin (bù ěr jīn 布尔津)-Kanas Lake (kā nà sī hú 喀纳斯湖) (3 days Trek)-Bu'erjin-Wu'erhe. It takes around 4hrs from Bu'erjin to Wu'erhe.
The Ghost City is still 70km away from the Wuerhe Town, which can be arrived via a collective van or tourist bus within 1.5 hours.

The scenary of the wind city is extremely fantastic at the sunrise or the sunset.

Best Time to Visit:
August to September

Admission Fee: CNY 30

Local Snacks: hand pilaf (zhuā fàn 抓饭), dogbane (jiá zhú táo 夹竹桃), pulled noodles (lā miàn 拉面), crusty pancakes (náng 馕), Fentang (fěn tāng 粉汤), etc.

Please take suntan oil, sunglass, sunbonnet in summer.
Be sure to take warm clothes for the night.
Do not stay far away from the vehicles for fear that you may get lost.
Do not camp outside at night.


Last Updated on Sunday, 29 August 2010 22:15