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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.