A Corridor of Apricot Blossom far from the sea: Ili River Valley

In April, southern China is prepared to welcome the early summer, but in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the spring will be just arriving. 

Lush grass and wildflowers cover the Ili River Valley, like an enormous carpet, as countless apricot trees full of pink blossoms embellish the green land. The apricot forests are distributed across the southern hillside of the valley. They are wild trees that exist since the Middle Ages. Due to the geographic feature of the basin, the climate here is warm and wet, providing the trees with suitable conditions to live for thousands of years.

In the heart of Eurasia, Xinjiang is dominated by the semiarid or desert climate. Ili is located in the northwest of Xinjiang, where mountains, hills, plains, and deserts are the four common types of landforms. The Ili River flows from the prefecture to Kazakhstan, bringing water and moisture to its near lands, and one of them is the Ili River Valley.

The best time to see the apricot blossoms is around April, but the precise time is uncertain. As the flowering time occurs only in a week, visitors need to do some research and preparation. But if you are lucky enough to catch up the visual feast, the apricot blossom along the valley resembles a long, pink corridor. 

People are more familiar with apricot fruits than the tree itself. The origin of the tree as is to be confirmed, but one of the theories, by a Soviet botanist Nikolai Vavilov, is that the domestication of the apricot would have taken place in the Chinese region. Apricot is not only a delicious food for Chinese people, the tree has also been wildly seen in Chinese art and literature.

(Cover image is a screenshot from the video.)

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