Ili Kazakh autonomous prefecture is located in northwest bordering area in Xinjiang province, China. Its name Ili is derived from Ili River meaning conquering all enemies and building a peaceful country in Uighur language. Ili is founded in 1954 and has two districts and ten counties under its administration. It has a population of 4,408,000 including 47 minority groups, 25.5% of which are Kazakh, 45.2% from Han nationality, 15.9% Uighurs and the rest are from Hui, Mongol and Xibe nationalities.
With Yining (伊宁) as its capital city, Ili is famed as "Jiangnan (江南; Jiāngnán in Chinese Pinyin ) beyond the Great Wall", the "Flower City" and the "Wet Island in Central Asia". It is a vast territory with an abundant of resources. It is covered by 30 million mu (亩; a unit equals 666.7 sq. km.) of green grass making it a natural meadow; presently 3000 mu arable land is brought under cultivation taking advantage of the water in Ili River and Eltrix River. Besides, Ili boasts the biggest ore source bed of gold in Xinjiang: the Axi gold deposit (阿希金矿), and the largest ore source bed of copper in China: the Ashele copper depositse (阿舍勒铜矿) giving it the advantage of being built as the most important mineral base in northwestern China.
As the saying goes, you won't know how vast China is if you've never been to Xinjiang; and you won't have any idea how beautiful Xinjiang is if you haven't spent any days in Ili. Ili plays an essential part in today's Xinjiang as well as in ancient times when it serves as key fort along Silk Road. Thousands upon thousands li of grasslands,the lush forests, green mountains and crystal clear lakes make it an ideal place for tourists to wander and appreciate the beauty of nature. Tourist attractions like Kuntun Grand Canyon, Sayram Lake and the Ili Grassland have caught the eye of thousands of tourists both from in China and around the world.
Most important of all, various kinds of delicious snacks of local flavor along Jiefang Road and Hongqi Road will surely make your mouth watering. Here is Piwo (啤沃), a kind of Russian flavor drink with a taste of honey, and Daowapu (刀瓦扑), a special drink in Xinjiang which is a mixture of yoghurt and ice, both of which will make you feel refreshed on a scorching summer day. In addition, bee products like royal jelly in Ili is also worth mentioning and crab apples (海棠果) is particularly famous there.