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(ko͞on`mĭng`), city (1994 est. pop. 1,240,000), capital of Yunnan prov., S China, on the northern shore of Dian Chi Lake. It is a major administrative, commercial, and cultural center of S China and leading transportation hub (air, road, rail), with rail connections to Vietnam. It is China's largest producer of copper. Coal is mined, and the city has an iron and steel complex. Other manufactures include phosphorus, chemicals, machinery, textiles, paper, and cement. Kunming has long been noted for its scenic beauty and equable climate. It consists of an old walled city, a modern commercial suburb, and a residential and university section. Although it was often the seat of kings in ancient times, Kunming's modern prosperity dates only from 1910, when the railroad from Hanoi was built. In World War II, Kunming was important as the Chinese terminus of the Burma Road. The city has an astronomical observatory, and its institutions of higher learning include Yunnan Univ. and a medical college. On the outskirts is a famed bronze temple, dating from the Ming dynasty. Kunming was formerly called Yunnanfu.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in southwestern China and the administrative center of Yünnan Province. Population, 880,000 (1957).

The city is situated on the Yünnan Plateau at an elevation of 1,892 m, on the north shore of Lake Tiench’ih, into which the P’anmungchiang River flows. It is an important transportation junction and the terminus of the Yünnan-Burma Road and of a railroad to Vietnam. Industry is represented by nonferrous metallurgy, machine building, electric power production (heat and electric power plants and hydroelectric stations), textiles, leatherworking, and food processing. The city is known for its traditional crafts—the making of carpets and felt goods. It is the site of the University of Yünnan, a polytechnic institute for ethnic minorities, the southwestern branch of the Academy of Sciences of the Chinese People’s Republic, and a botanical garden. Within the city limits is Lake Ts’uihu (Turquoise Lake), one of K’unming’s major attractions. It is called “the city of eternal spring” because of its mild winters (the temperature averages 9.7°C in January) and warm and sunny summers (the average July temperature is 20.2°C); the annual precipitation totals 1,095 mm. Around the city are sanatoriums and houses of rest for climatotherapy.

The city was founded as Chienling in the first century A.D. Subsequently it was called Yingying, K’unchou, Itan, and Yünnan, acquiring its present name in the 13th century after the Mongol conquest of China. In the mid-17th century it became the administrative center of Yünnan. From 1939 to 1941, during World War II, it served as a transshipment point for cargoes entering China (blockaded by the Japanese) from Europe and the USA through Burma along the Yünnan-Burma Highway. The walls of ancient fortifications and various historical and architectural monuments have been preserved.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, K'un-ming
a city in SW China, capital of Yunnan province, near Lake Tien: important during World War II as a Chinese military centre, American air base, and transport terminus for the Burma Road; Yunnan University (1934). Pop.: 1 748 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005