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a city in northwestern China, in the middle course of the Huang Ho. Capital of Kansu Province. Population, 1,500,000 (1970).
Lanchou is an important transportation junction. The city’s growth is linked with the railroad construction that was carried out between 1952 and 1959 (lines to T’ienshui, Paotou, Hsining). Industries include the chemical industry (including the production of fertilizer), the manufacture of rolling stock, and the production of oil-field equipment and electrical devices. Oil refining is well developed, processing the crude oil transported by the first oil pipeline in China from the Yümen oil field. There are enterprises for the production of cloth, tobacco, leather, matches, cement, and glass, as well as wool-processing and flour-milling enterprises. Lanchou’s educational institutions include the Northwestern University and an institute of the petroleum industry, a railroad-transport institute, a pedagogical institute, and a zoology and veterinary institute. The Northwestern Branch of the Academy of Sciences of China is also located in Lanchou.
Numerous habitation sites and burial mounds from the Neolithic period, the Aeneolithic period, and the Bronze Age have been found near Lanchou. These have proved to be of considerable importance in the study of the history of China during these periods.