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ﺋﺎﻻﺗﺎﯞ ئېغىزى شەھرى
Tianshan Street, Alashankou
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Township-level divisions||2 Subdistricts|
|• Total||1,204 km2 (465 sq mi)|
|Time zone||China Standard Time (UTC+8)|
|Alternative Chinese name|
|Mongolian script||ᠠᠯᠠᠭ ᠠᠭᠤᠯᠠ|
|Literal meaning||Alatau Pass|
Alashankou is a border city in Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. It is a port of entry by both railroad and highway from Kazakhstan as part of the Eurasian Land Bridge.
The city is named after the Dzungarian Gate (Alashankou in Chinese), a pass connecting the two countries through the Dzungarian Alatau mountains. West of the pass, the port of entry on the Kazakhstan side is Dostyk. Alashankou is 73 kilometers (45 mi) from Bole, 460 kilometers (290 mi) from Ürümqi, and 580 kilometers (360 mi) from Almaty. The weather in Alashankou is harsh.
Alashankou is one of China's national first-class ports of entry. The volume of imports and exports passing through Alashankou accounts for 90% of the total for all of Xinjiang. Since 2010 it has surpassed Manzhouli, Inner Mongolia to become the busiest land port-of-entry in China.
Formerly a township-level port commission under the administration of Bole City, Alashakou was upgraded to a county-level city in December 2012. The city governs an area of 1,204 square kilometres (465 sq mi), including 12 square kilometres (4.6 sq mi) of built-up area, which is divided into Alatao and Aibihu subdistricts. It has a permanent population of 10,000 and a floating population of 30,000.
The agreement between the Soviet Union and the China to connect Kazakhstan with Western China by rail was achieved in 1954. On the Soviet side, the railway reached the border town of Druzhba (Dostyk) in 1959. On the Chinese side, however, the westward construction of the Lanzhou-Xinjiang railway was stopped once it reached Urumqi in 1962. Due to the Sino-Soviet Split, the railway link was not completed until September 12, 1990. The highway port of entry was opened in December 1995.
The railway networks of the two countries use different gauges (China, like most of Europe, uses the standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in), but Russia uses the broader gauge of 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) Russian gauge ), so there are breaks of gauge. It is proposed to build a standard gauge Transcontinental Railway to link Europe and China to bypass these two breaks of gauge. This project was signed in 2004.
Media related to Alataw Pass at Wikimedia Commons