Red Hill Park

Red Hill Park, also called Hong Shan Park, is situated at the intersection of Hongshan Road and Hetan Road in the heart of the city of Urumqi. The hill is called Red Hill because it is made up of aubergine rock with a reddish brown color. The Hill is 1.5 km (.93 mile) long and 1 km (.62 mile) wide from east to west, and stands 910.8 meters (996 yards) high. If you have the energy to make it to the peak of Red Hill, you will be rewarded with fantastic, bird's eye views of Urumqi.

Red Hill has slowly been transformed into a lush, tree-clad hill that makes up part of Red Hill Park. Red Hill has become almost greener than red except for the still barren cliff face that faces the now dried up Urumqi River. Up until 1950s, Red Hill was all but barren - a significantly smaller and considerably less regular-shaped Ayer Rock. In 1958, thanks to help from the local residents of Urumqi as well as invaluable help from the government of the PRC, Red Hill was recreated as a hill clothed in green trees and green shrubbery, punctuated with numerous other buildings besides the restored Qing Dynasty pagoda.

Red Hill Park Red Hill Park
Dragon-Supression Pagoda on the top of Red Hill Ancient tower on the Red Hill.

The restored Pagoda in Red Hill Park, named Dragon-Supression Pagoda, consists of nine tapered sections, forming a 26-foot, hexagonal, carrot-shaped structure typical of most pagodas and around which a garden - Red Hill Garden - has been planted. The small "dome" atop Dragon-Supression Pagoda is octagonal. Elsewhere on Red Hill are numerous smaller structures and pavilions nested among the trees that provide shade and thus relief from the fierceness of the sun in this rather hot part of Xinjiang.

At the base of Red Hill across from the multi-lane highway that now occupies the dried up riverbed is a small lake, also part of Red Hill Park, that offers fishing and boating facilities, as well as various other amusement facilities, including a restaurant. From the lake the visitor can easily find the first bridge over the Urumqi River, Xida ("West Grand") Bridge, that was erected in 1763 by the Qing government and fully restored by the local government of the city of Urumqi as late as 2006. To cross Xida Bridge, just exit Red Hill Park via the park's South Gate.

Red Hill Park is a popular, refreshing and easily accessible getaway in the heart of Urumqi. Both the local residents as well as tourists from home and abroad flock to the park during the summer especially. Here, one will see people of all ages sitting about chatting, playing cards and other games, or strolling about enjoying the breeze and the shade of the tree-lined walkways. The round pedal boats on the lake are said to be bumper cars on water (it is hard to navigate them without bumping into other pedal boats) and therefore provide lots of fun for "children of all ages", as the saying goes, while a panoramic view of all of Urumqi can be had atop Red Hill.

Today, modern entertainment facilities can also be found in the park and visitors can sit amid the pleasant surroundings and enjoy folk music and dance performances.

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