Lanzhou, or Lanchou, China, the capital of Gansu province. It is on the Huang River, near the Great Wall, about 720 miles (1,160 km) southwest of Beijing, the national capital. Lanzhou, an old city that was once walled, long served as a meeting place and trading center for caravans traveling between China and Central Asia. After the Communists came to power in 1949, Lanzhou became a major industrial and transportation center and a gateway to rapidly developing western China. Railways link the city to Mongolia, Xinjiang and Nei Mongol provinces, and eastern China. Lanzhou University, which was founded in 1909, is here.

Population: 1,730,000.