What to see
The Famous Xixia Tombs
Ningxia's main tourist spots is the famous Xixia Tombs site located 30 km west of Yinchuan. The remnants of nine Western Xia emperors' tombs and two hundred other tombs lie within a 50-km² area.
Mount Helan Shan and its frescos
Mount Helan Shan has ancient carved pictures on the cliff, well-worth going.
The Two Pagodas:
Baisikou Double Pagodas is located at the foot of the Mt. Helan. According to the records of historical materials, Li Yuanhao, the first emperor of Western Xia Kingdom had built his palace here to avoid the summer heat. There's only a distance of a hundred meters between each other. The 17 stories’ eastern pagoda and the 14 stories’ western in its right opposite are built alike in appearance and fluent in line, which are the key cultural relics under protection to study the history of Western Xia.
The Ming Great Wall & "The Water Cave Gully"
Ningxia is one of China's northwestern regions and is known as the "Museum of Great Wall". Ningxia's northern border is shared with Inner Mongolia, home of the Mongolian tribes that frequently invaded China.
Beginning in the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), fortifications were built to defend against the invaders from the north. The construction of the Great Wall continued during the successive dynasties of the Qin, Han, Sui, Tang, finally ending during the Ming Dynasty. The wall in this region was originally 1500 kilometers in length.
The Ming wall was comprised of the Eastern, Northern and Western sections, tracking along the region's northern border from east to west. The Western part starts from Zhongwei County in the west and runs northeastwardly along the Yellow River until the Helan Mountains. The Eastern section runs through what is now Lingwu County and Yanchi County, then enters Shaanxi. The Northern part connects the Eastern and Western parts like the horizontal bar.
"The Water Cave Gully" is one of the best place to see the wall. It has won the awards as one of the "50 most worth-going Chinese spots for foreigners." Donkey cart ride to the gully and the boat tour on the water along the packed earth Great Wall are special experience (if weather permits).
The Hui people are a Chinese ethnic group, typically distinguished by their practice of Islam. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. They are concentrated in Northwestern China (Ningxia, Gansu, Xinjiang), but communities exist across the country. Most Hui are similar in culture to Han Chinese with the exception that they practice Islam, and have some distinctive cultural characteristics as a result. For example, as Muslims, they follow Islamic dietary laws and reject the consumption of pork, the most common meat consumed in Chinese culture, and have also given rise to their variation of Chinese cuisine, Chinese Islamic cuisine. Their mode of dress also differs only in that adult males wear white caps and females wear headscarves or (occasionally) veils, as is the case in most Islamic cultures.
Cuisine: Yinchuan cuisine is predominantly Muslim fare centered around beef and mutton. Chicken, duck and fish are also popular. Food here makes use of fresh ingredients, retaining the food’s delicate flavors with a touch of sugar. If you are not afraid to get your hands dirty then try the shouzhua yangrou, a mutton dish that’s eaten with your hands. Noodles with mutton are a common sight in eateries throughout the area. Braised mutton is cooked with chili and caraway seeds giving it a tasty kick. Sweet and sour Yellow River carp, a local specialty that swims with flavor. During festivals and fairs, fried dough is a popular snack..
Medlar has been is an ingredient used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ningxia has been cultivating it for over 480 years.
Helan Shan, is often carved into ink stones. It's a very hard stone with a glossy finish and a tinge of purple coloring.
Items made from lamb's wool are abundant; they're soft and warm. The West Pagoda Culture Market is a good place to browse for antiques, stoneware and assorted souvenirs, look for it over on Liqun Xi Jie.