Karamay Overview

Basic Information

  • Chinese Name: 克拉玛依
  • Location: Situated in northwestern edge of the Dzungarian Basin.
  • Area: About 7,733 square kilometers
  • Population: About 442,769
  • Language: Lanyin official dialect, Mandarin, etc.

Administrative Division

With an area about 7,733 square kilometers, Karamay has direct jurisdiction over 4 districts.


Karamay is a prefecture-level city in the north of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China. Located at the northwestern edge of the Dzungarian Basin, Karamay bothers Yi’ershan Mountain in northwest, the foot of Tianshan Mountain in south, and Gurbantunggut Desert (古尔班通古特沙漠) in east. In north and northeast, it connects Hoboksar Mongol Autonomous County (和布克赛尔蒙古自治县); in southwest, it neighbors Toli County (托里县)’in south, it is next to Wusu County and Shawan County. With an area of 7,733 square kilometers, Karamay has wide plain in central and eastern part. The elevation there is between 270 and 500 meters. The city proper is 313 kilometers of highway mileage and 280 kilometers of airway mileage away from Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The landform of Karamay city is Gobi desert, taking on slanted terrain with long length from north to south and narrow land from east to west.


Karamay is located in mid-latitudes inland. It belongs to a typical temperate continental climate. The characteristics of the climate are large temperature differences, dry and little rain, with much monsoon of the spring and autumn. Nature disasters like high wind, cold wave, hail and mountain torrents could be seen. The four seasons, winter and summer is long, with large temperature differences, and the spring and autumn are transition periods, with little differences. To know more about Karamay Climate.

The Best Time to Go

The best time to visit Karamy is spring and autumn. Karamay city belongs to typical continental climate which has the characteristics of dry, little rain, and much wind in spring and autumn. Winter is much too cold and summer is too hot, with large temperature differences, so the two seasons are not suitable for traveling.

Things to Do

Karamay, it is the meaning of “Heiyou” (black oil) in Uyghur language. The city got the name because of Black Oil Mountain which is a natural pitch mound near the city proper. Black Oil Mountain is the cradle of oil fields. Known as the oil city, the first must-to-do thing is to feel the unique charm of the oil city. Then, there are lots of natural sites that you could visit, such as Ghost City of the World (世界魔鬼城), Ailike Lake (艾里克湖), Heiyoushan Mountain (黑油山), Poplar River Grand Canyon (白杨河大峡谷), wild populus euphratica forest, ruins of villages in the Qing Dynasty, etc. Then, oil industry sites are are quite unique and valuable to see like Dushanzi oil well sites, Dushanzi distillation kettle sites (独山子蒸馏釜遗址), Dushanzi oil worker club, Keyihoa Well (克1号井), Karamay Exhibition Center, etc. Also, you could appreciate the urban landscape like Century Park, People's Square, Karamay River, etc.


Karamay provides convenient transportation conditions. At the end of 2017, the city's civil car ownership reached 135,000 (including tricycles and low-speed trucks), with an increase of 6.6% compared to the previous year. Among them, the private car ownership reaches 107,000, with an increase of 8.8%. The city's total city buses reached 521, with 46 city bus lines. The railway passenger turnover amounted to 1.11 million, increasing 27.1% compared to the previous year. The civil aviation passenger turnover amounted to 391,000, increasing 44.0%. The highway passenger turnover reached 756,000, with a decrease of 18.7%. To know more details of Karamay Transportation.

History & Culture

In history, the jurisdictions of Karamay belonged to the northern part of the grassland area where many nomadic tribes once lived. In Qin Dynasty, it belonged to the nomadic land of Saizhong people (塞种人) and some other people. When it came to the early period of Han, it was controlled by Darouzhi people (大月氏人).  During the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-589), it was the nomadic land of Turkic tribe and Gaoche tribe, and later it was the territory of Turkic State (突厥汗国). In long time, it has been the nomadic land to different tribes and people. And in different dynasties, management measures were taken to manage the city. On January 24th, Karamay city was established. To know more about Karamay Culture


The oil industry is the pillar industry of Karamay, and it is an important support in the city’s development. Karamay oil production started in Dushanzi oil deposits, which has several hundred years of history. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, geological workers accelerated the pace of petroleum geological exploration, which helps the development of local economy at the same time. Since the reform and opening up, the development of the tertiary industry obtains great progress. And the individual private economy development speed to rank first for four consecutive years in Xinjiang. As the rapid development of tourism, a large number of urban special tourism routes formed, including oil industry tour, the Ghost Town of the World natural scenery tour, agriculture sightseeing picking tour, rafting adventure, etc.

In 2017, the city's GDP totaled 72.24 billion yuan, with an increase of 7.5% compared to the previous year. The first industrial added value of 490 million yuan, up by 3.0%; the second industry added value of 50.13 billion yuan, up by 5.3%; the tertiary industry added value of 21.61 billion yuan, with an increase of 12.4%.

Under the force of oil industry, Karamay local industry, agriculture, and the tertiary industry as well as various social undertakings have made great development, which makes it become an important part of the Northern Slope Economic Zone in Xinjiang, and it is known as "the bright jewel", "the Gobi pearl" and " the desert beauty" of western China.


Karamay is blessed all sorts of tourist resources, with two 4A-level tourist attractions, 8 3A-level scenic spots and 1 2A-level tourist spots. In 2017, the year tourism income totaled 4.45 billion yuan, with an increase of 26.4%. The year received 5.201 million tourists, with a growth of 27.8%. The number of inbound tourism was 15,226, and among them, 13,317 were foreigners. Owing to its unique natural views and cultural sites here, the tourism of the city sees promising future. At the same time, tourism development drives other industries forward rapidly as well.


About 70% of the total population of Karamay is Han nationality. In addition to the traditional Chinese festivals and activities, the festivals or events with local feature there in Karamay are Corban Festival and Lesser Bairam. To know more about Karamay Festivals and Activities


Karamay is a city of migrants, and the Han nationality accounts large part. In addition to the Han nationality, more than 30 nations live there, such as Uyghur, Kazak, Hui, Xibe, Russian nationality, etc. so there are all kinds of local ethnic flavor snacks. You can eat various cooked wheaten food, and also you can enjoy dishes like Sichuan cuisine, shandong cuisine, etc. But halal food will takes up large part. To know more about Karamay Dining.