Kumul, a county-level city in the Kumul Prefecture in the east of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China, is located east of Tianshan Mountains. As early as more than 2000 years ago, Kumul has become a stronghold on the Silk Road when Zhang Qian first opened it in the Han Dynasty. As a result, it is also called “the Strategic Passage to the Western Regions (a Han Dynasty term for the area west of Jade Gate Pass, including what is now Xinjiang and parts of Central Asia), and the Passageway Linking up East to West”. Kumul is also the well-known Hami melon growing area. Kumul covers an area of 8.5 square kilometers (850 hectares), with a population of 404.4 thousand. 21 ethnic groups including the Uygur people, Han people, Hui people, Kazakh people, etc. live in this city. The postal code here is 839000 while the area code is 0902.

Kumul has beautiful landscape and a lot of places of interest. The east branch of Tianshan Mountain traverses the territory. In Kumul, we can see mountain streams and pine forests everywhere. On the foot of the mountain, there are vast grasslands where animal husbandry is well developed. It is also the native haunt of the famous Barkol Horse. Barkol Lake, White Stone, Kou Men Zi, Mingsha Mountain, Shi Cheng Zi, Ba Da Shi (or Eight Huge Rocks), Miao Er Ravine, Xi He Ravine (or West Black Ravine) and so on are all unique natural landscapes here. Apart from the beautiful natural landscape, there are places of historic figures and cultural heritages that are worthy to be visited in Kumul as well due to the long history here, including Hui Wang Ling (Tomb of the King in Kumul), Gai Si Mu (Tomb of Gai Si), Tianshan Temple and some ancient cities, ancient stone tablets and cliff paintings.


In 60 B.C., Kumul officially became part of the West Han Empire, in charge of Protectorate of the Western Regions. After the great victory in Pulei achieved by two great general Dou Gu and Ban Chao in the Eastern Han Dynasty, Yihe Dujiaowei was set up to administer affairs in Kumul. In 131 A.D., Shundi Emperor in Han Dynasty made Yiwu Sima to govern Yiwu, who was mainly in charge of military affairs and opening up wasteland.

During the period of the Three Kingdoms and Wei and Jin, Kumul was still called Yiwu, still having Yihe Dujiaowei as its governor. In 327 A.D., Yiwu became a county of Dunhuang. This was also the first place in the Western Regions where the system of prefectures and counties (a system of local administration which took shape during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Qin Dynasty) was carried out.

During the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589), Yiwu was governed by Rouran for 73 years. In the Northern Wei Dynasty, Yiwu Prefecture was set up here. In the Sui Dynasty, Yiwu Prefecture and Rouyuan township was set up here. In the early years of Zhenguan During the reign of Emperor Tiazong in the Tang Dynasty, it changed its name to Xiyi Province and later Yizhou Province.

During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, it was under the rule of the Later Han Dynasty. Later, it was taken into the control of Uyghur Khaganate. In Yuan Dynasty, Kumul was named Hamili, in the charge of Gansu Province. At the end of Yuan Dynasty, it set up a separatist kingdom called Hami Kingdom.

In the years of Yongle in Ming Dynasty, or 1406 A.D., Hamiwei was set up here. Kumul was once occupied by Junggar Sector of Mongolia. Later, it surrendered to Qing government, and was granted a title as level-one Zhasake. Banners and teams were set up here. In Qing Dynaasty, during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, Hamiting waas set up here and later during the reign of Emperor Guangxu in Qing Dynasaty, it changed its name into Zhiliting.

Kumul has a long history. Used to be a place of strategic importance on Silk Road, Kumul played an important role in strengthening the relationship between the Western Regions and places in the Central Plain and in promoting the communication between east and west in ancient times. The numerous historical sites and precious excavations recorded the old glory of this important town on the Silk Road.

Tips & articles

Tianshan Mountain Scenic Area consists of five parts: White Stone, Ming Sha Mountain, Song Shu Tang, Tianshan Temple and Han Qi Ravine. During the way from the central city of Kumul to Tianshan Mountain Scenic Spot, which measure over 70 kilometers (about 43...Read More
Mayor Zhang Jianfei met in Changsha with a Party and government delegation of Hami (Kumul) Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region led by Secretary of the CPC Hami Prefectural Committee Guo Lianshan on Dec. 11. Deputy Mayor of Changsha City Xie Jianhui, ...Read More