Site of Ancient Nilka Copper Mine in Ili

Why is Ancient Nilka Copper Mine so Special?

The Nulasai copper mine site is the earliest mining and smelting site found in Xinjiang. From the aspects of process flow, smelting temperature, slag and billet, it has reached a high technical level, providing important material data for studying the origin and development of early steel smelting technology in Xinjiang.

Where is Ancient Nilka Copper Mine

Site of Ancient Nilka Copper Mine Located in Lulasay Vaglley near the Kax River to the south of the county seat of Nilka.

History of Ancient Nilka Copper Mine

the Site of Ancient Nilka Copper Mine dated from 2500 years ago. 

In the spring and autumn period 2500 years ago, the Zhou dynasty changed from strong to weak, the royal family declined day by day, power was waiting for countries to conquer each other, wars were frequent, there was widespread mourning, and the people were displaced. Small vassal states were invaded and annexed by powerful vassal states. The western regions in the same historical period, especially the Ili valley, are relatively calm. This is not a wild place. The Serbs graze and hunt, mine and harness, and multiply.

This mysterious ethnic group has long mastered superb copper smelting technology.

Main Attractions of Ancient Nilka Copper Mine

The site of the Nulasai ancient copper mine is located in a valley called Nulasai on the Kashi River 3 kilometers from the county seat. This valley is an east-west ravine along which the veins spread. The caves more than 2,500 years ago in the remote mountains are deep and dark, which is thrilling enough for young people who like to explore and read novels about grave robberies.

Although the Nulasai copper mine was listed as a national key cultural relic protection unit in 2001, it is still “kept in a deep unknown place”. It is because of “unknown” that the ancient copper mine site of Nulasai has maintained its original form for many years. At present, more than 10 underground mining shaft openings have been found, each about one meter square.

Judging from the situation at the openings of these shafts, these mining shafts are interconnected underground and form a net-shaped mining tunnel, thus forming a large-scale ancient copper mining site with a long opening time and relatively complete preservation.

The Nulasegou site, which is visited in May, is 2 or 3 meters away from the entrance of the cave and still feels chilly. The staff look into the cave and motion with their hands that it is full of mud and there are signs of new landslides. To be on the safe side, it is suggested not to enter.

Best Time to Travel Ancient Nilka Copper Mine

The best time to pay a visit is in late spring  and Autumn.

Ili is characterized by short summers and long winters. Spring sees fast temperature increase but with unstable feature. Autumn sees fast temperature decline. Usually, spring is 30 days shorter than autumn. Abundant sunshine, relative low humidity, and strong evaporation are the features of climate there. Besides, large temperature differences between day and night are one of the typical features of local climate.

How to Get There

  • Bus
    Take the bus to Nilek at intervals of 25 minutes between 08: 30 and 19: 40.
  • Self driving
    The whole journey is about 114.5 kilometers, 2 hours and 4 minutes.

Useful Travel Tips

  • Xinjiang has a vast area, so we should pay attention to the weather forecast of the destination before traveling in Xinjiang so as to increase or decrease clothes.
  • It is hot and dry in summer in Xinjiang. It takes a long time to travel between scenic spots. Please pay attention to drinking water and preventing summer heat.
  • Passengers suffering from carsickness please bring medicine for carsickness.
  • Xinjiang has a long travel schedule, large temperature difference, and relatively hard water quality, which makes it difficult to adapt for a while and may lead to symptoms of acclimatization.
  • Xinjiang is the hometown of melons and fruits. Do not drink hot water after eating fruits, so as not to cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

Nearby attractions

Edited by Doreen/张洋