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
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.