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Prefecture-level city
Jiuquan Park
Jiuquan Park
Location of Jiuquan City jurisdiction in Gansu
Location of Jiuquan City jurisdiction in Gansu
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Country People's Republic of China
Province Gansu
 • Total 191,342 km2 (73,878 sq mi)
Elevation 1,483 m (4,865 ft)
Population (2010)
 • Total 1,095,947
 • Density 5.7/km2 (15/sq mi)
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Postal code 735000
Area code(s) 0937
Licence plate prefixes F
Website www.jiuquan.gov.cn
Chinese 酒泉
Literal meaning "Ale Springs"

Jiuquan (pronounced [tɕi̯òu̯tɕʰy̯ɛ̌n]; Chinese: 酒泉) is a prefecture-level city in the northwesternmost part of Gansu province, People's Republic of China. The entire "prefecture-level city" (that is, a multi-county administrative unit - an equivalent to the traditional Chinese prefecture) stretches for more than 600 km (370 mi) from east to west, occupying 191,342 km2 (73,878 sq mi); its population as of 2002 was 962,000.


The city's name came from legendary tale of the young Han general Huo Qubing, who poured a jar of precious ale into a local creek in order to share the taste with his troops, in celebration of their crushing victory against Xiongnu forces. The creek was later named Jiuquan ("Ale Springs"), which became the name of the Han prefecture established there. It was an active military garrison during the Later Han Dynasty.[1]

It is known in popular legend as the place where rhubarb was first grown and is also the town where the Portuguese Jesuit missionary and explorer Bento de Góis (1562–1607) was robbed and died destitute.[2]

Administrative divisions

Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Population
(2004 est.)
Area (km²) Density
Suzhou District 肃州区 Sùzhōu Qū 350,000 3,349 105
Yumen City 玉门市 Yùmén Shì 170,000 13,500 13
Dunhuang City 敦煌市 Dūnhuáng Shì 140,000 26,960 5
Jinta County 金塔县 Jīntǎ Xiàn 140,000 14,663 9
Guazhou County 瓜州县 Guāzhōu Xiàn 90,000 21,350 4
Subei Mongol Autonomous County 肃北蒙古族
Sùběi Měnggǔzú
10,000 55,000 <1
Aksai Kazakh Autonomous County 阿克塞哈萨克族
Ākèsài Hāsàkèzú
10,000 31,374 <1


Jiuquan occupies the westernmost part of Gansu, bordering Zhangye City to the east, Qinghai to the south, Xinjiang to the west, Ejin Banner of Inner Mongolia and Mongolia to the north. Its administrative area ranges in latitude from 37° 58' to 42° 48' N and in longitude from 92° 09' to 100° 20' E, and reaches a maximal north-south extent of 550 km (340 mi) and maximal east-west width of 680 km (420 mi).

Jiuquan has a cold desert climate (Köppen BWk), with long, cold winters, and hot, somewhat dry summers. Monthly average temperatures range from −9.0 °C (15.8 °F) in January to 21.7 °C (71.1 °F) in July, with an annual mean of 7.47 °C (45.4 °F). The diurnal temperature variation is relatively large, averaging 13.8 °C (24.8 °F) annually. With sunny weather and low humidity dominating year-round, the area hosts one of the launch sites for the PRC's space programme. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 62% in July to 77% in October, the city receives 3,031 hours of bright sunshine annually.

Suzhou District

The administrative center of the "prefecture-level city" of Jiuquan is the "district" of Suzhou (肃州区, Sùzhōu Qǖ), which occupies 3,386 square kilometres (1,307 sq mi) in the eastern part of Jiuquan "prefecture-level city", and had a population of 340,000 as of 2002. It is located where modern mapmakers usually place the "Jiuquan" label.

According to a 2008 source, a large billboard at the entrance to the city read: "Without Haste, Without Fear, We Conquer the World".[2]

The District of Suzhou corresponds to the historic town of Suzhou (not to be confused with Suzhou (苏州, Sūzhōu) in Jiangsu). It was founded in 111 BC as a military outpost on the Silk Road to Central Asia though the Hexi Corridor. It is approximately 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) above sea level.

As a strategic point along the Hexi Corridor, Suzhou often found itself a defensive fortress taken with heavy loss of life, as was the case when Meng Qiaofang took it from Ding Guodong in 1649, or when the Qing general Zuo Zongtang took it in 1873 from its Hui defenders commanded by Ma Wenlu during the Dungan Revolt (1862–77).


Jiuquan is served by China National Highway 312 and the Lanzhou-Xinjiang (Lanxin) Railway. The Lanxin Railway has several side branches within Jiuquan Prefecture. In particular, a railway branch runs from the Liugou Station in Guazhou County to Dunhuang, serving both Guazhou county seat and Dunhuang. There are plans to expand it further south into Qinghai; the extension, known as the Golmud–Dunhuang Railway, will connect Dunhuang to Golmud on the Qingzang Railway.[4] There is also the Jiayuguan–Ceke branch, which runs through the desert areas of Jiuquan Prefecture's Jinta County.

Jiuquan is also served by Jiuquan Airport. There is also Dunhuang Airport in Dunhuang.

Space launch center

Jiuquan is the closest major city to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. Still, the space launch center is more than 100 km (62 mi) away from the city, and is actually located not in Gansu province, but in the neighboring Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. It was built in 1958; the first Chinese human spaceflight, Shenzhou 5 was launched there on 15 October 2003, making Yang Liwei China's first astronaut and a national hero.[5] The second was in 2005.

See also


  1. Hill (2009), pp. 124, 126.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Winchester (2008), p. 264.
  3. 中国地面国际交换站气候标准值月值数据集(1971-2000年) (in Chinese). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 2010-05-04. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 格尔木至敦煌铁路开工, Renmin Tielu Bao, 2012-10-20
  5. Winchester (2008), 264.


  • Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
  • Winchester, Simon (2008). The Man Who Loved China. HarperCollins, New York. ISBN 978-0-06-088459-8.

External links